City of Chicago v. United States

PETITIONER: City of Chicago
RESPONDENT: United States
LOCATION: Gwinnett County Courthouse

DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1969-1970)

CITATION: 396 US 162 (1969)
ARGUED: Nov 20, 1969
DECIDED: Dec 09, 1969

Facts of the case


Media for City of Chicago v. United States

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 20, 1969 in City of Chicago v. United States

Warren E. Burger:

Number 101, City of Chicago against United States and 102, same parties.

Mr. MacDougall you may proceed whenever you're ready.

Gordon P. Macdougall:

Mr. Chief Justice, may it please the Court.

I appear for the appellants and my argument time is being shared by counsel for the United States and the Interstate Commerce Commission because the Government has aligned itself in this case on appellant's side.

These are two direct appeals from two cases heard together by a three-judge District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

The two cases were suits to review the action of the Interstate Commerce Commission in allowing to be discontinued a portion of one passenger train and all of another passenger trains.

The partial discontinuance involved the Chicago to Evansville, Indiana segment of the Georgian train which operates from Chicago to Atlanta.

A complete discontinuance was the Hummingbird train which operates from Cincinnati to New Orleans.

The interconnection is that national.

The appellants have a substantial interest in the service and these are the only trains, the only daily trains from Chicago to Terre, Vincennes, Evansville, Chattanooga, Atlanta, Mobile, and are the only daily service from Chicago to Nashville and Montgomery, Alabama.

The court below dismissed both of the actions for lack of jurisdictions.

The Court said that Congress intended to deny judicial review to the public because when the carrier prevails at the ICC, the order is one discontinue the investigation.

On the other hand if the railroad loses that the ICC, the order is one requiring the continued train operations and the railroad can go to court.

And we think this is unfair and the reason we think it's legally unfair is that Congress never intended the unfair result.

And there's nothing in the legislative history to suggest that the public can't go to court but the railroads can go to court.

Hugo L. Black:

I understand, what you mean is you think it's illegal?

Gordon P. Macdougall:

Well, the question we have --

Hugo L. Black:

You have reason to save question about unfairness.

Gordon P. Macdougall:

I just thought I mentioned the word unfairness since it's come up today.

Two of the lower court decisions which we rely on did use the word unfair and said that Congress could not be presumed to have intended such an unfair result.

Hugo L. Black:

Well, that's quite a different argument.

Gordon P. Macdougall:

The appellants here today are seven regulatory commissions, one state, nine communities, three labor organizations, and one railroad passenger association.

We are supported an amicus brief by the national association of regulatory commissioners until the commissioners representing all of the state commissions for the 50 states, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia.

And the appellees are the Chicago and East Illinois Railroad and the Louisville and Nashville Railroad.

The sole issue before the Court in our judgment is whether Congress did intend to deny judicial review to the public while granting such judicial review to the railroads.

There's no question of standing involved, eight district courts have expressly passed upon the issue.

Two early decisions in 1965, held it was no judicial review for the public and all of the decisions since then have held to the opposite that there is judicial review and one of these other decisions was granted by a three-judge court for the same Northern District of Illinois after the judges below were entered.

Now the statute we have here is Section 13 (a) (1), of the Interstate Commerce Act which became a law in 1958.

And contrary to the opinion below, there is nothing in the language or the legislative history of 13 (a) (1) to suggest that Congress intended to deny judicial review.

The general framework of the Interstate Commerce Act is that decisions of the Commission are subject to judicial review.