United States v. Pennsylvania Co Pennsylvania Co v. United States, Nos. 47

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtBLACK
Citation323 U.S. 612,89 L.Ed. 499,65 S.Ct. 471
PartiesUNITED STATES et al. v. PENNSYLVANIA R. CO. et al. PENNSYLVANIA R. CO. et al. v. UNITED STATES et al
Decision Date29 January 1945
Docket NumberNos. 47,48

323 U.S. 612
65 S.Ct. 471
89 L.Ed. 499
UNITED STATES et al.

v.

PENNSYLVANIA R. CO. et al. PENNSYLVANIA R. CO. et al. v. UNITED STATES et al.

Nos. 47, 48.
Argued Jan. 8, 9, 1945.
Decided Jan. 29, 1945.

Appeals from the District Court of the United States for the District of New Jersey.

Page 613

Mr. John Vance Hewitt, of New York City, for Pennsylvania R. Co. et al.

Mr. Daniel W. Knowlton, of Washington, D.C., for the United States and Interstate Commerce Commission.

Mr. Parker McCollester, of New York City, for Forrest S. Smith, Trustee, etc., et al.

Mr. Justice BLACK delivered the opinion of the Court.

Seatrain Lines, Inc., is a common carrier of goods by water. In 1929, its predecessor began to carry goods from Belle Chasse, Louisiana, to Havana, Cuba. Each of the vessels used was so constructed that it could carry a number of railroad cars, and special equipment was provided to hoist these cars from adjacent tracks on the docks and move them bodily into the vessels. It was thereby rendered unnecessary for goods carried to the ports in railroad cars to be unloaded from the cars and carried piecemeal into the vessels. This new method of transportation, so the Interstate Commerce Commission has found, was a great improvement over the old practice, less destructive to the goods, more economical and more efficient. Seatrain Lines, Inc., v. Akron, Canton & Youngstown Railway Co., 226 I.C.C. 7, 20, 21. In 1932, Seatrain decided to initiate a new interstate service between Hoboken, N.J. and Belle Chasse, Louisiana, via Havana, Cuba, and thus entered into direct competition with the interstate transportation of freight by railroads. During the time Seatrain had limited its business to foreign transportation, i.e., Louisiana to Cuba, the non-competing railroads freely permitted it the use of their cars. Shortly after it began its interstate service, however, the following rule was promulgated by the American Railway Association:1 'Cars

Page 614

of railway ownership must not be delivered to a steamship, ferry, or barge line for water transportation without permission of the owner filed with the Car Service Division.' Thereafter, some railroads continued to permit Seatrain to use their cars but others, including the parties to this proceeding, refused to do so. No railroads 'refused to permit delivery of their cars to any of the other 11 water lines listed in a circular of the Association as coming within the intendment of the rule.' Investigation of Seatrain Lines, Inc., 206 I.C.C. 328, 337.

A complaint was filed with the Interstate Commerce Commission. Appropriate hearings were conducted and a series of findings and opinions were entered. The findings were that the sole object of the Association of Railroads' rule was to prevent diversion of traffic from the railroads to Seatrain; that Seatrain, as an interstate water carrier, was subject to the Commission's jurisdiction; that its interstate operations were in the public interest and of advantage to the convenience and commerce of the public; that the Commission had jurisdiction to require through railwater interstate routes, and, where such through routes were established to require railroads to interchange cars with water carriers, Investigation of Seatrain Lines, Inc., 195 I.C.C. 215; Id., 206 I.C.C. 328. An initial order of the Commission required the railroads to establish certain through joint rail-water routes with Seatrain. Such through interstate routes together with joint rates were established. Seatrain Lines, Inc., v. Akron, Canton & Youngstown R. Co., 226 I.C.C. 7; Id., 243 I.C.C. 199. The Commission then heard evidence and found that a payment of $1.00 per day would be a reasonable amount for Seatrain to pay the railroads for their cars while they were in Seatrain's possession. Hoboken Manufacturers' R. Co. v. Abilene & S.R. Co., 237 I.C.C. 97; Ic., 248 I.C.C. 109. Based on its findings the Commission ordered the railroads to abstain from observing and enforcing rules and practices which prohibited the interchange of their freight cars for transportation by Seatrain in interstate commerce.

Page 615

The railroads promptly brought this action under 28 U.S.C. §§ 41(28), 47, 28 U.S.C.A. §§ 41(28), 47, to set aside the Commission's order. The District Court set aside the order insofar as it required railroads to interchange cars destined for carriage by Seatrain outside the territorial waters of the United States, but sustained it in all other respects. 55 F.Supp. 473. Both sides appealed directly to this Court as authorized by the Urgent Deficiencies Act of October 22, 1913, 28 U.S.C. §§ 47, 47a, 28 U.S.C.A. §§ 47, 47a, and Section 238 of the Judicial Code, 28 U.S.C. § 345, par. (4), 28 U.S.C.A. § 345(4).

First. It is contended that the railroads are under no duty to deliver their cars to Seatrain and that the Interstate Commerce Commission is without authority to require them to do so. It has long been held, and it is not denied here, that since the passage of the Interstate Commerce Act, 49 U.S.C.A. § 1 et seq., railroads may be compelled to establish through routes2 and to interchange their cars with each other,3 both subject to reasonable terms. Nor is it denied that the railroads are under a legal duty, enforceable by proper Commission orders, to establish through routes with connecting water carriers.4 The narrow contention is that the power granted the Commission to require establishment and operation of through rail-water routes does not empower it to require a railroad to interchange its cars with a water carrier. Since the Commission's order was entered after passage of the 1940 Transportation Act

Page 616

54 Stat. 898, 49 U.S.C.A. § 1 et seq., the question must be decided under that Act. Ziffrin, Inc., v. United States, 318 U.S. 73, 78, 63 S.Ct. 465, 469, 87 L.Ed. 621.

There is no language in the present Act, which specifically commands that railroads must interchange their cars with connecting water lines. We cannot agree with the contention that the absence of specific language indicates a purpose of Congress not to require such an interchange. True, Congress has specified with precise language some obligations which railroads must assume. But all legislation dealing with this problem since the first Act in 1887, 24 Stat. 379, has contained broad language to indicate the scope of the law. The very complexities of the subject have necessarily caused Congress to cast its regulatory provisions in general terms. Congress has, in general, left the contents of these terms to be spelled out in particular cases by administrative and judicial action, and in the light of the congressional purpose to foster an efficient and fair national transportation system. Cf. Chicago, R.I. & P.R. Co. v. United States, 274 U.S. 29, 36, 47 S.Ct. 486, 489, 71 L.Ed. 911; I.C.C. v. Railway Labor Executives Ass'n, 315 U.S. 373, 376, 377, 62 S.Ct. 717, 719, 720, 86 L.Ed. 904.

The 1940 Transportation Act is divided into three parts, the first relating to railroads, the second to motor vehicles, and the third to water carriers. That Act, as had each previous amendment of the original 1887 Act, expanded the scope of regulation in this field, and correlatively broadened the Commission's powers. The interrelationship of the three parts of the Act was made manifest by its declaration of a 'national transportation policy of the Congress to provide for fair and impartial regulation of all modes of transportation subject to the provisions of this Act, so administered as to recognize and preserve the inherent advantages of each.' The declared objective was that of 'developing, coordinating, and preserving a national transportation system by water, highway, and rail, * * * adequate to meet the needs of the commerce of the

Page 617

United States * * *.' Congress further admonished that 'all of the provisions of this Act shall be administered and enforced with a view to carrying out the above declaration of policy.' 54 Stat. 899, 49 U.S.C.A. note preceding section 1.

This policy cannot be carried out as to Seatrain's interstate carriage unless railroads interchange their cars with it. The particular type of service introduced by Seatrain, and found by the Commission to be qualitatively superior, cannot be rendered without the privilege of carrying the very railroad cars which carry freight to its ports. The 'inherent advantages of this service' would be lost to the public without railroad car interchange.

Furthermore, the Act calls for 'fair and impartial regulation.' The railroad Association's rule however is constructed on the premise that the railroads can at their discretion determine which water carrier may, and which may not, transport their cars. Seatrain alone, of all the water carriers, according to the Commisison's findings, has been refused car interchange. This means that the Association's rule, if valid, enables the railroads to decline to deal with Seatrain as it does with other carriers. As early as 1914, the Commission had declared that the Interstate Commerce Act, as then in effect, prohibited railroad practices which lent themselves to such purpose. The Commission said at that time:

'If rail carriers are permitted to choose the particular boat lines with which they will establish through routes and joint rates, they will be able to dictate who shall operate on the water and who shall not, for a boat line which is accorded a monopoly of the through rail-and-water traffic...

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43 practice notes
  • Transcontinental Bus System, Inc. v. CAB, No. 22791
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • July 24, 1967
    ...1102 (1947); ICC v. New York, N.H. & H.R.R., 372 U.S. 744, 83 S.Ct. 1038, 10 L.Ed.2d 108 (1963); Cf. United States v. Pennsylvania R.R., 323 U.S. 612, 65 S.Ct. 471, 89 L.Ed. 499 (1945). But even then, discrimination motivated by the competition of other forms of transportation remained unju......
  • U.S. v. St. Bernard Parish, Nos. 83-3557
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • April 8, 1985
    ...conditions which members of the delegating legislatures cannot be expected to possess. United States v. Pennsylvania Railroad Co., 323 U.S. 612, 65 S.Ct. 471, 89 L.Ed. American Trucking, 344 U.S. at 309-10, 73 S.Ct. at 314-15. Similar thoughts on the judicial restraint necessary when assess......
  • Lehigh & New England Ry. Co. v. I. C. C., No. 75-1518
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Third Circuit
    • June 9, 1976
    ...Inc. v. Atchison, Topeka & Sante Fe Ry., 387 U.S. 397, 409-10, 87 S.Ct. 1608, 18 L.Ed.2d 847 (1967); United States v. Pennsylvania R. R., 323 U.S. 612, 618-19, 65 S.Ct. 471, 89 L.Ed. 499 (1945). Finally, the Interstate Commerce Act and the Rail Act entrust a broad subject matter to administ......
  • Hiatt Grain & Feed, Inc. v. Bergland, No. 77-4161.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of Kansas
    • January 18, 1978
    ...with industry conditions which members of the delegating legislatures cannot be expected to possess. United States v. Pennsylvania R. Co., 323 U.S. 612, 65 S.Ct. 471, 89 L.Ed. See also Mourning v. Family Publications Service, Inc., 411 U.S. 356, 372, 93 S.Ct. 1652, 36 L.Ed.2d 318 (1973); St......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
43 cases
  • Transcontinental Bus System, Inc. v. CAB, No. 22791
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • July 24, 1967
    ...(1947); ICC v. New York, N.H. & H.R.R., 372 U.S. 744, 83 S.Ct. 1038, 10 L.Ed.2d 108 (1963); Cf. United States v. Pennsylvania R.R., 323 U.S. 612, 65 S.Ct. 471, 89 L.Ed. 499 (1945). But even then, discrimination motivated by the competition of other forms of transportation remained unjus......
  • U.S. v. St. Bernard Parish, Nos. 83-3557
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • April 8, 1985
    ...conditions which members of the delegating legislatures cannot be expected to possess. United States v. Pennsylvania Railroad Co., 323 U.S. 612, 65 S.Ct. 471, 89 L.Ed. American Trucking, 344 U.S. at 309-10, 73 S.Ct. at 314-15. Similar thoughts on the judicial restraint necessary when assess......
  • Lehigh & New England Ry. Co. v. I. C. C., No. 75-1518
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Third Circuit
    • June 9, 1976
    ...v. Atchison, Topeka & Sante Fe Ry., 387 U.S. 397, 409-10, 87 S.Ct. 1608, 18 L.Ed.2d 847 (1967); United States v. Pennsylvania R. R., 323 U.S. 612, 618-19, 65 S.Ct. 471, 89 L.Ed. 499 (1945). Finally, the Interstate Commerce Act and the Rail Act entrust a broad subject matter to administr......
  • Hiatt Grain & Feed, Inc. v. Bergland, No. 77-4161.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of Kansas
    • January 18, 1978
    ...with industry conditions which members of the delegating legislatures cannot be expected to possess. United States v. Pennsylvania R. Co., 323 U.S. 612, 65 S.Ct. 471, 89 L.Ed. See also Mourning v. Family Publications Service, Inc., 411 U.S. 356, 372, 93 S.Ct. 1652, 36 L.Ed.2d 318 (1973); St......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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