Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers v. Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad Company - Oral Argument - October 30, 1995

Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers v. Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad Company

Media for Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers v. Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad Company

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - January 08, 1996 in Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers v. Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad Company

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 30, 1995 in Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers v. Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad Company

William H. Rehnquist:

We'll hear argument next in Number 94-1592, Brother... spectators are admonished to be quiet until you get outside the courtroom.

The Court is still in session.

We're going to hear argument next in Number 94-1592, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers v. The Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe.

Mr. Mann, you may proceed whenever you're ready.

Lawrence M. Mann:

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

The obvious question for you to ask me this morning is, if Congress intended for waiting time for deadhead transportation to be time on duty, why didn't it say so specifically?

Well, the answer to that, at least in my mind, is very simple.

We're dealing with a statute that first of all encompasses many train operations.

Even the petitioners acknowledge that there are thousands of train operations daily.

At the time of the '69 statute, there were 36,000 train operations each day, so--

William H. Rehnquist:

What do you mean when you say train operations?

Lawrence M. Mann:

--Meaning, a crew goes on duty and performs service for the railroad.

That would be one train operation, Your Honor.

And the other answer to that is, and I think it's the real guts of the case is, there was no need to specifically state that waiting time was time on duty because Congress treated that issue in several sections of the statute, and I refer the Court to section 21103(b), and I will talk about (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), and (6) subsections.

And in each one of those subsections it's very clear that Congress was attempting... and I submit to you they did close the loopholes, and one basic problem is that railroad workers at that period of time were sitting on trains for hours on end waiting for a pickup crew or another train to come along and take them to their final release period, and it's... throughout the entire amendments the sole purpose was to close those loopholes, and they did it in several ways.

First of all, you don't have to be working at all to be covered as time on duty under the act, because it's very clear... you know, I'm just a country boy, Your Honors, but English is English.

It says, interim periods available for rest at a place--

William H. Rehnquist:

Where are you reading from, Mr. Mann?

Lawrence M. Mann:

--Excuse me, Your Honor.

William H. Rehnquist:

And where will we find it?

Lawrence M. Mann:

This is section 21103--

William H. Rehnquist:

Page 2 of the petition?

Lawrence M. Mann:

--In my brief, Your Honor, it is... yes, page 2 of the petition.

Page 3, number (5), subsection (5), Your Honor, an interim period available for rest.

Now, what the carriers and the Government is telling you is that this period of time should not be considered here.

They want to write out and put conditions on each section, not giving it its broad and plain meaning.

They--

David H. Souter:

Well, are you reading out the word, interim?

Lawrence M. Mann:

--The interim, Justice Souter, means interim between the time you go on duty and the time that you're finally released from duty.

David H. Souter:

It doesn't mean interim as between two periods of active duty?