Public Service Commission of Utah v. United States

PETITIONER: Public Service Commission of Utah
RESPONDENT: United States
LOCATION: United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division

DOCKET NO.: 15
DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1957-1958)
LOWER COURT:

CITATION: 356 US 421 (1958)
ARGUED: Dec 09, 1957
DECIDED: May 19, 1958

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Public Service Commission of Utah v. United States

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - December 09, 1957 in Public Service Commission of Utah v. United States

Earl Warren:

Number 15, Public Service Commission of Utah and Utah Citizens Rate Association, Appellants, versus United States of America and Interstate Commerce Commission.

Mr. Rampton.

Calvin L. Rampton:

If the Court please.

This is an appeal from a three-judge court in the District of Utah.

The action was brought by the appellants here, the plaintiff below, for the purpose of setting aside an order of the Interstate Commerce Commission taking jurisdiction of and raising Utah intrastate railroad freight rates under the provisions of Section 13 (4) of the Interstate Commerce Commission.

The decision below was a 2-to-1 decision.

The majority report was concurred in by Circuit Judge Pickett and Judge Ritter and a minority opinion written by Judge Christensen.

The opinions are -- appear in the record.

The manner in which this case arose is as follows.

In 1951 or shortly before that date, the railroads, class one railroads of the United States made application to the Interstate Commerce Commission for an increase in substantially all interstate rail freight rates.

The first hearing on this application which was given the Number Ex Parte 175, and by which I will refer to the proceedings hereafter, all railroads in the United States were granted permission to increase their freight rates by 2% with certain hold-down which are not material here.

At a subsequent hearing, the eastern roads were permitted to take an additional 7% and the western and southern roads an additional 4%.

And there's still a third here on hearing under Ex Parte 175.

The eastern roads were permitted to take an additional 6% and the western and southern roads an additional 9% so that all told under Ex Parte 175, the interstate rate -- freight rates of all the railroads with, as I said, certain hold-downs which are not material here were increased by 15%.

Shortly after the original application was made with the public or with the Interstate Commerce Commission, the class one railways which operated within and through the State of Utah, made application to the Public Service Commission of Utah for authority to increase their intrastate rates by the same percentages being sought in the Interstate Commerce Commission on interstate rates.

The time of the first increase before the I.C.C., a hearing was held for the Utah Commission.

The conclusion of this hearing, the Utah Commission ruled, the railroads have not introduced evidence sufficient to authorize the increase of the intrastate rates.

The time of the second order in the Ex Parte 175, a further petition was filed with the Utah Commission but no hearing was ever had on that.

And then at the time of the final order, in Ex Parte 175 on the -- that had build up to 15%, a third petition was filed by the Utah Commission with this class one railways and a full hearing was held thereon and at the conclusion of the hearing, the Utah Commission ruled that the petitioning railroads have not introduced evidence sufficient to authorize the increase of the Utah intrastate rates and held that the application was denied subject to the right of the railroad to make a petition to reopen to introduce the additional evidence if they could do it.

The railroads did not make further application to the Utah Commission nor did they take any appeal in the Utah courts, rather they made application to the Interstate Commerce Commission under the provisions of Section 13 to have the Interstate Commerce Commission take jurisdiction of this Utah rates and raise them.

The Interstate Commerce Commission proceeded with a hearing of the Utah intrastate rates.

And at the conclusion of that hearing, issued the report and order which appears evidence in the court below in which they held that the requisite jurisdictional facts had been established to authorize the Interstate Commerce Commission to take jurisdiction of the Utah rates.

They did take jurisdiction of the Utah intrastate rail rates and ordered them increased by 15% with certain restricted hold-down which again are not material here.

Felix Frankfurter:

Is any member of your Commission sit with the I.C.C.?

Calvin L. Rampton:

I'm not sure, Your Honor.

The case was heard by an examiner and tried to visualize the -- I argued the case but I can't recall whether one of our Commissioners sat at the time the Section 13 case was held.

On the opinion, he did not.

An action was brought --

Felix Frankfurter:

He must have been notified of course?

Calvin L. Rampton:

They appeared as a party.