California v. Southland Royalty Company

PETITIONER: California
RESPONDENT: Southland Royalty Company
LOCATION: First Division Circuit Court, Pulaski County

DOCKET NO.: 76-1114
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

CITATION: 436 US 519 (1978)
REARGUED: Apr 17, 1978
DECIDED: May 31, 1978
ARGUED: Dec 07, 1977

ADVOCATES:
J. Evans Attwell - for respondents
John L. Hill - for State of Tex., as amicus curiae, by special leave of Court
Randolph W. Deutsch - for petitioners California et al.
Stephen R. Barnett - for petitioner Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

Facts of the case

Question

Media for California v. Southland Royalty Company

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - December 07, 1977 in California v. Southland Royalty Company
Audio Transcription for Oral Reargument - April 17, 1978 in California v. Southland Royalty Company

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - May 31, 1978 in California v. Southland Royalty Company

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

Mr. Justice White will deliver -- announce the judgment and opinions of the Court in 76-1114, California v. Southland Royalty company and two related cases and in Zurcher versus Stanford Daily and a related case.

Byron R. White:

The first three cases, the California against Southland, and two consolidated cases raise issues under Section 7 of the Natural Gas Act.

Under that Section, the consent of the Commission, now the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, is required for the abandonment of any service rendered by certificated facilities carrying gas in interstate commerce.

The question in this case is whether upon the termination of the lease, under which the lessee has made a certificated sales in Interstate Commerce, the lessor must secure the consent of the Commission to terminate the interstate sales.

The Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit said or held that the Commission had no power at all in these circumstances.

We disagree and reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit as we see it, Section 7 does reach a situation such as this under consent of the Commission must be obtained.

This result we think is required by our cases, particularly Sunray Mid-Continent Oil Company case in 364 U.S. We accordingly reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals.

Mr. Justice Stevens has filed a dissenting opinion, and the Chief Justice, and Mr. Justice Rehnquist have joined Mr. Justice Stevens.

Justices Stewart, and Powell took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.