Arrow Transportation Company v. Southern Railway Company

PETITIONER: Arrow Transportation Company
RESPONDENT: Southern Railway Company
LOCATION: Clauson's Inn

DOCKET NO.: 430
DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1962-1965)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

CITATION: 372 US 658 (1963)
ARGUED: Jan 10, 1963
DECIDED: Apr 15, 1963

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Arrow Transportation Company v. Southern Railway Company

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 10, 1963 in Arrow Transportation Company v. Southern Railway Company

Hugo L. Black:

Number 430, Arrow Transportation Company and others, against the Southern Railroad Company and others.

John C. Lovett:

Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court.

Hugo L. Black:

Mr. Lovett.

John C. Lovett:

This case is before this Court --

Hugo L. Black:

Just a moment.

John C. Lovett:

Yes, sir.

Hugo L. Black:

Mr. Lovett, you may --

John C. Lovett:

Thank you, sir.

I was waiting for the chart if the Court please.

This case is before this Court on a writ of certiorari to the Court of Appeals for Fifth Circuit.

I have agreed with the Government's counsel on the division of the argument in order to avoid any unnecessary duplication.

I will present the factual picture, the history of the case and if time permits, I will briefly summarize our legal position and the Government's counsel will present the legal position in detail, the statutory history, and the statutory policies involved.

The issue before this Court is both narrow and simple.

Briefly stated, that issue is whether the Federal District Court has the power to prevent serious irreparable injury to competing carriers and to shippers, and the localities by putting into effect certain drastic rate reductions which the Interstate Commerce Commission has declared prima facie unlawful and in a situation where the Interstate Commerce Commission where its power to prevent these rates from going into the effect has been invoked and spent.

To put the issue in perspective, let me present a brief background.

We have attached a chart to our brief as Appendix B, and it tells most of the story.

I've had it enlarged here for purposes of illustration.

In the upper left hand corner of the chart is the breadbasket of America.

This is the great grain surplus producing area.

In the Southeastern part, in the lower right hand corner, the Southeastern part of the United States we have the great grain deficit area today and today, grain moves in tremendous volumes from the surplus area to the deficit area.

It was not always so.

The Tennessee River in its natural state, where the series of (Inaudible) and rapids, and was not completely navigable and the rail rates which were then in effect from the Midwest to the Southeast were prohibitively high.

Consequently there was no major grain industry that developed in these Southeastern states.

After the Tennessee Valley authority constructed a series of dams on the Tennessee River, the river became navigable the year around and it furnished it and its connecting waterways, furnished a natural, logical low cost route for grain to move from the surplus area to the deficit area.

A large poultry industry developed in the Southeastern states, particularly in Alabama and Georgia, and the low cost water movement made this development possible.

A number of elevators, feed mills and so forth were constructed at the Tennessee River ports.

The grain would move by barge through or from St. Louis up to Tennessee River to such ports as Guntersville, which was the major one where the development occurred because it was the southernmost point on the Tennessee River.

The result was that the demand for grain in the Southeast skyrocketed.

Now this was a tremendous new movement of grain.

The movement by barge to the Tennessee River ports, such as Guntersville then transshipped from Guntersville and the other ports to interior destinations in the Southeast, where the grain was consumed, used to feed the poultry, and for the other feed purposes.