United States v. Alaska Co

Citation253 U.S. 113,64 L.Ed. 808,40 S.Ct. 448
Decision Date17 May 1920
Docket NumberNo. 541,541
PartiesUNITED STATES et al. v. ALASKA S. S. CO. et al
CourtUnited States Supreme Court

Messrs. Charles W. Needham, of Washington, D. C., and Alexander C. King, Sol. Gen., of Atlanta, Ga., for appellants.

Messrs. Roscoe Hupper, of New York City, and Theodore W. Reath, of Philadelphia, Pa., for appellees.

Mr. Justice DAY delivered the opinion of the Court.

A petition was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York by numerous interstate carriers and carriers by water against the United States and the Interstate Commerce Commission to set aside an order of the Interstate Commerce Commission dated March 14, 1919, requiring the carriers to use two certain modified bills of landing, one pertaining to domestic and the other to export transportation. The cause came on for hearing upon application for a temporary injunction and upon a motion to dismiss the petition. The hearing was had before three judges, a Circuit Judge and two District Judges. A majority concurred in holding that the Interstate Commerce Commission had no authority to prescribe the terms of carrier's bills of lading, and that in any event there was no power to prescribe an inland bill of lading depriving the carriers of the benefits of certain statutes of the United States limiting the liability of vessel owners. Alaska S. S. Co. v. U. S. (D. C.) 259 Fed. 713. One of the District Judges dissented, holding that the Commission had the power to prescribe bills of lading, and that the particular bills of lading in question were within the authority of the Commission. An order was entered refusing to dismiss the petition, and an injunction pendente lite was granted. From this order an appeal was taken directly to this court under the statute of 1913. 38 Stat. 220.

It appears that the matter in controversy as to the authority of the Commission and the character of the bills of lading were subjects of much inquiry before the Commission, where hearings were had, and an elaborate report upon the proposed changes in carriers' bills of lading resulted in the adoption by the Commission of the two bills of lading. 52 Interst. Com. Com'n R. 671.

Pending this appeal Congress passed on February 28, 1920, the act known as the 'Transportation Act of 1920,' which terminated the federal control of railroads, and amended in various particulars previous acts to regulate interstate commerce. In view of this act of Congress this court on March 22, 1920, entered an order requesting counsel to file briefs concerning the effect of the act upon this cause. Briefs have been filed, and we now come to consider the altered situation arising from the new legislation, and what effect should be given to it in the disposition of this case.

The thing sought to be accomplished by the prosecution of this suit was an annulment of the order of the Commission, and an injunction restraining the putting into effect and operation of such order, which prescribe the two forms of bills of lading. The temporary injunction granted was against putting into effect the Commission's order prescribing the forms of the bills of lading.

The Transportation Act of 1920, passed pending this appeal, makes it evident (and it is in fact conceded in the brief filed by appellants) that changes will be required in both forms of bills of lading in order that they may conform to the requirements of the statute. We need not now...

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216 cases
  • Sierra Club v. Hobet Mining Llc., Civil Action No. 3:09-1167.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. Southern District of West Virginia
    • July 12, 2010
    ...Constitution mandates that a court hear only continuing cases and controversies. See 723 F.Supp.2d 909United States v. Ala. S.S. Co., 253 U.S. 113, 116, 40 S.Ct. 448, 64 L.Ed. 808 (1920). “Simply stated, a case is moot when the issues presented are no longer ‘live’ or the parties lack a leg......
  • Bays v. Warden, Ohio State Penitentiary, Case No. 3:08-cv-076
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. Southern District of Ohio
    • February 18, 2012
    ...the Court is not empowered to decide moot questions or abstractPage 65propositions. Rice, supra, citing United States v. Alaska S.S. Co., 253 U.S. 113, 116 (1920), quoting California v. San Pablo & Tulare R. Co., 149 U.S. 308, 314 (1893). Mr. Bays' Seventh Ground for Relief relies entirely ......
  • State v. Martin
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Arizona
    • January 31, 1984
    ......United States, 442 U.S. 100, 106, 99 S.Ct. 2190, 2194, 60 L.Ed.2d 743 (1979). The Arizona Constitution ...414 U.S. 833, 94 S.Ct. 173, 38 L.Ed.2d 68 (1973); Finch v. State, 592 P.2d 1196, 1198 (Alaska 1979); Johnson v. State, 662 P.2d 981, 985-86 (Alaska App.1983); see generally 2 W. LaFave, ......
  • Klein v. Califano, 77-1896
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • September 29, 1978
    ...decide. Oil Workers v. Missouri, 361 U.S. 363, 367, 80 S.Ct. 391, 394, 4 L.Ed.2d 373 (1960), Quoting United States v. Alaska S.S. Co., 253 U.S. 113, 116, 40 S.Ct. 448, 64 L.Ed. 808 (1920). Similarly, where the dispute which gave rise to the district court's injunction has ended because of c......
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1 books & journal articles
    • United States
    • Michigan Law Review Vol. 120 No. 3, December 2021
    • December 1, 2021
    ...(40.) E.g., N.Y. State Rifle & Pistol Ass'n v. City of New York, 140 S. Ct. 1525,1526 (2020); United States v. Alaska S.S. Co., 253 U.S. 113,115-16 (41.) E.g., Rhodes v. Stewart, 488 U.S. 1,4 (1988); Dove v. United States, 423 U.S. 325 (1976). (42.) Lewis, supra note 38, at 889-90. (43.......

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