United States of America v. Merchants Manufacturers Traffic Association of Sacramento, No. 452

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtBrandeis
Citation37 S.Ct. 24,242 U.S. 178,61 L.Ed. 233
PartiesUNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Interstate Commerce Commission, Atchison, Topeka, & Santa Fe Railway Company, et al., Appts., v. MERCHANTS' & MANUFACTURERS' TRAFFIC ASSOCIATION OF SACRAMENTO et al
Decision Date04 December 1916
Docket NumberNo. 452

242 U.S. 178
37 S.Ct. 24
61 L.Ed. 233
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Interstate Commerce Commission, Atchison, Topeka, & Santa Fe Railway Company, et al., Appts.,

v.

MERCHANTS' & MANUFACTURERS' TRAFFIC ASSOCIATION OF SACRAMENTO et al.

No. 452.
Argued October 19, 1916.
Decided December 4, 1916.

Assistant Attorney General Underwood for the United States.

Page 179

Mr. Joseph W. Folk for the Interstate Commerce Commission.

Mr. John E. Alexander for appellees.

[Argument of Counsel from pages 179-181 intentionally omitted]

Page 182

Mr. Justice Brandeis delivered the opinion of the court:

By the Act of June 18, 1910, chap. 309, 36 Stat. at L. 539, 547, Comp. Stat. 1913, § 8566, amending § 4 of the Act to Regulate Commerce [24 Stat. at L. 380, chap. 104], carriers were prohibited from charging more 'for a shorter than for a longer distance over the same line or route in the same direction' without obtaining authority from the Interstate Commerce Commission so to do. A period of six months from the passage of the amendment was provided within which carriers might file application for authority to continue charges of that nature then lawfully existing.

For many years prior to 1910 it had been a common practice to make freight rates from the East to Pacific coast points lower than to intermountain territory, because of competition by the Atlantic-Pacific ocean carriers. About 185 interior cities near the coast had been granted the same transcontinental rates as the ports of San Francisco and Oakland, because the competing water carriers customarily 'absorbed' the local rates or charges from the ports to those cities. Among the interior cities thus treated as 'Pacific Coast Terminals' were Sacramento, Stockton, San Jose, and Santa Clara. The extent to which the higher rates to intermountain territory were justified and the proper basis for 'back haul' rates had been the subject of many hearings before the Interstate Commerce Commission.

Proceeding under § 4, as amended, six railroads applied to the Commission under date of December 7, 1910, for relief in respect to west-bound transcontinental commodity rates. The applications, after enumerating the then-existing tariffs, sought authority specifically 'to continue all rates shown in the above-named tariffs from eastern shipping points designated to Pacific coast terminal points,' and generally 'to continue the present method of

Page 183

making rates lower at the more distant points than at the intermediate points, such lower rates being necessary by reason of competition of various water carriers' from Atlantic to Pacific ports. After prolonged hearings the Commission entered its so-called 4th section order No. 124, by which, while declining to grant the applications as made, it authorized charging, in some respects, lower rates for the longer hauls. The limitation of such charges was set by a zone system and rate percentage basis prescribed by the Commission, which involved an extensive readjustment of rates; but the existing practice of treating these interior cities as terminals was not disturbed. The validity of the order was attacked by the carriers in the courts, and, after three years of litigation, finally sustained in Intermountain Rate Cases (United States v. Atchison, T. & S. F. R. Co.) 234 U. S. 476, 58 L. ed. 1408, 34 Sup. Ct. Rep. 986.

Meanwhile the 'effective date' of the order had been extended by the Commission. After the decision of this court, further extensions of the 'effective date' were sought by the carriers and granted. Some modifications of the order were proposed by the carriers. Additional hearings were had in which many shippers participated. Changes in conditions occurring since the entry of the original order on July 31, 1911, were considered,—among others, that Congress had passed the Act of August 24, 1912 [37 Stat. at L. 568, chap. 390, Comp. Stat. 1913, § 8569], giving the Commission jurisdiction over transportation 'by rail and water through the Panama canal;' that the canal itself had been opened on August 15, 1914; that competing ocean rates had been lowered and service improved; and that the ocean carriers had discontinued the practice of 'absorbing' rates from the ports to interior cities. An elaborate supplemental report was made by the Commission on January 29, 1915, and another on April 30, 1915. The propriety of modifications in addition to those proposed by the carriers was shown and a new plan for constructing 'back haul' rates, devel-

Page 184

oped by the Commission, was eventually embodied in the amended 4th section order No. 124 of April 30th, 1915, and adopted by the carriers in the tariffs filed thereunder. Following the limitation imposed by the amended order, the tariffs filed confined the low 'terminal' rates to ports of call like San Francisco and Oakland; and the interior coast cities, including Sacramento, Stockton, San Jose, and Santa Clara, were subjected to rates materially higher than San Francisco and Oakland, though much lower than those to intermountain territory.

Representatives of these four cities, conceiving them aggrieved by the refusal to grant them the same rates as the ports, and alleging that they had participated in whole or in part at hearings which preceded the entry of the last amendment order, applied to...

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28 practice notes
  • Fahey v. O'Melveny & Myers, No. 12591.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • December 17, 1952
    ...Trustees v. United States, 263 U.S. 143, 147, 148, 44 S.Ct. 72, 68 L.Ed. 216; United States v. Merchants' & Manufacturers' Traffic Ass'n, 242 U.S. 178, 188, 37 S.Ct. 24, 61 L.Ed. 200 F.2d 467 The rights and incidents of membership in a Federal Home Loan Bank are clearly specified and limite......
  • Gudgel v. Iverson, Civ. No. 1494.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court of Western District of Kentucky
    • August 1, 1949
    ...Hines Trustees v. United States, 263 U.S. 143, 44 S.Ct. 72, 68 L.Ed. 216; United States v. Merchants and Manufacturers Traffic Ass'n, 242 U.S. 178, 37 S.Ct. 24, 61 L.Ed. Unless the plaintiff can show that some legal right conferred upon him by the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act or the......
  • Utah Citizens Rate Association v. United States, Civ. No. C-58-60.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Court of Utah
    • January 6, 1961
    ...68 L.Ed. 667, and Merchants' & Manufacturers' Traffic Ass'n of Sacramento v. United States, D.C., 231 F. 292, reversed other grounds 1916, 242 U.S. 178, 37 S. Ct. 24, 61 L.Ed. 233. This is for the reason that it possesses no legal right or interest that would be injuriously affected by the ......
  • Algoma Coal & Coke Co. v. United States, No. 337.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Virginia)
    • July 6, 1935
    ...case existed which justified its action in that respect. United States v. Merchants' & Manufacturers' Traffic Ass'n of Sacramento, 242 U. S. 178, 37 S. Ct. 24, 61 L. Ed. 233. In this respect the case differs from the special situation disclosed in Skinner & Eddy Corporation v. United States......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
28 cases
  • Fahey v. O'Melveny & Myers, No. 12591.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • December 17, 1952
    ...Trustees v. United States, 263 U.S. 143, 147, 148, 44 S.Ct. 72, 68 L.Ed. 216; United States v. Merchants' & Manufacturers' Traffic Ass'n, 242 U.S. 178, 188, 37 S.Ct. 24, 61 L.Ed. 200 F.2d 467 The rights and incidents of membership in a Federal Home Loan Bank are clearly specified and limite......
  • Gudgel v. Iverson, Civ. No. 1494.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court of Western District of Kentucky
    • August 1, 1949
    ...Hines Trustees v. United States, 263 U.S. 143, 44 S.Ct. 72, 68 L.Ed. 216; United States v. Merchants and Manufacturers Traffic Ass'n, 242 U.S. 178, 37 S.Ct. 24, 61 L.Ed. Unless the plaintiff can show that some legal right conferred upon him by the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act or the......
  • Utah Citizens Rate Association v. United States, Civ. No. C-58-60.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Court of Utah
    • January 6, 1961
    ...68 L.Ed. 667, and Merchants' & Manufacturers' Traffic Ass'n of Sacramento v. United States, D.C., 231 F. 292, reversed other grounds 1916, 242 U.S. 178, 37 S. Ct. 24, 61 L.Ed. 233. This is for the reason that it possesses no legal right or interest that would be injuriously affected by the ......
  • Algoma Coal & Coke Co. v. United States, No. 337.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Virginia)
    • July 6, 1935
    ...case existed which justified its action in that respect. United States v. Merchants' & Manufacturers' Traffic Ass'n of Sacramento, 242 U. S. 178, 37 S. Ct. 24, 61 L. Ed. 233. In this respect the case differs from the special situation disclosed in Skinner & Eddy Corporation v. United States......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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