Arkansas & Louisiana Missouri Railway v. Amarillo-Borger Express

PETITIONER: Arkansas & Louisiana Missouri Railway Company, et al.
RESPONDENT: Amarillo-Borger Express, Inc., et al.
LOCATION: Kingsley Books, Inc.

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1957)

CITATION: 352 US 1028 (1957)
ARGUED: Mar 04, 1957 / Mar 05, 1957
DECIDED: Mar 11, 1957

Facts of the case


Media for Arkansas & Louisiana Missouri Railway v. Amarillo-Borger Express

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 05, 1957 in Arkansas & Louisiana Missouri Railway v. Amarillo-Borger Express

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 04, 1957 in Arkansas & Louisiana Missouri Railway v. Amarillo-Borger Express

Earl Warren:

Number 125, Arkansas & Louisiana Missouri Railway Company, et al., versus, Amarillo-Borger Express Incorporated, et al.

Number 224, United States of America and Interstate Commerce Commission versus Amarillo-Borger Express Incorporated.

Mr. Ginnane.

Robert W. Ginnane:

May it please the Court.

I represent the appellants of the United States and the Interstate Commerce Commission.

The appellants, Railroads, are represented by Mr. McDowell with whom I have agreed on the division of argument and the division at the time, if it please the Court.

This case is here on direct appeal from the judgment of a three-judge District Court sitting in the Northern District of Texas.

In general, the questions are whether the District Court aired in undertaking to review an order of the Interstate Commerce Commission vacating a prior rate suspension order.

Secondly, in setting aside of that order for lack of findings and third --

Felix Frankfurter:

Lack of -- lack of?

Robert W. Ginnane:

Lack of findings.

And third, in suspending or enjoining the use of carrier initiated rates after they had gone into effect.

Now, these questions go to the heart of the statutory procedure for the making and suspension of rates.

And that the Court will permit, instead of going into the immediate facts and issues of the case at the outset, I think it will be helpful if I outline first that general statutory procedure for the initiation and the suspension of rate.

Without printing in anyway, you could get to ask this question now.

But I just say (Inaudible) in the briefs and I'm hopeful to save us some time to deal with the questions (Inaudible)?

Robert W. Ginnane:

Yes, sir.

This case involves rail rates and therefore, the rate provisions of part one of the Interstate Commerce Act.

But similar provisions appear in parts two, three and four dealing with the rates of motor carriers, water carriers and freight forwarders.

The Act generally contemplates that rates will be established upon the initiative of the carriers by filing with the Commission and publishing tariffs containing the new or changed rates.

Thus, paragraph 3 of Section 6 provides that the railroads may file tariffs embodying rate changes to become effective upon 30 days notice to the Commission and to the public, unless the Commission in its discretion and for good cause shown allow such great changes to be made on less than 30 days notice.

Now, prior to 1910, the Interstate Commerce Commission had no power to prevent railroad initiated rates from becoming effective.

It could only set them aside as unlawful after a full hearing.

It was in the Mann-Elkins Act of 1910 for the first time that Congress empowered the Commission to suspend railroad initiated rates before they became effective and for a specified period pending an investigation by the Commission into the lawfulness of the rates.

That statutory period of suspension has -- has been changed by Congress from time to time.

And at the present time under Section 15 paragraph (7) of the Act, the Commission may suspend rail rates for a period not to exceed in seven months.

The option of what you've said is that on the -- prior to Mann-Elkins, a rate could be put enforce would be collected x years, sometimes years might elapse before the rate challenge is unreasonable.

It would then be set as -- then that'd be an order which we get into Court in some more time and if eventually the -- the Commission's order were sustained preparation proceedings that may begun for the past payments, is that right?

Yes, if the parties had survived.

Felix Frankfurter: