Securities and Exchange Commission v. Louisiana Public Service Commission

PETITIONER: Securities and Exchange Commission
RESPONDENT: Louisiana Public Service Commission
LOCATION: Railroad Crossing

DOCKET NO.: 466
DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1957-1958)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

CITATION: 353 US 368 (1957)
ARGUED: Apr 30, 1957 / May 01, 1957
DECIDED: May 13, 1957

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Securities and Exchange Commission v. Louisiana Public Service Commission

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 30, 1957 in Securities and Exchange Commission v. Louisiana Public Service Commission

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - May 01, 1957 in Securities and Exchange Commission v. Louisiana Public Service Commission

Robert A. Ainsworth, Jr.:

-- Chief Justice, may it please the Court.

On yesterday, may it please the Court, we considered and sketched briefly the Louisiana Public Service Commission, its powers, its duties and its obligations and compared them on parallel courses as far as practical with the functions of the S. E. C.

We also discussed the right of judicial review of any order made under subsection 11 of the Public Utility Holding Company Act.

Today, I should like to discuss the merits of the case with particular reference to the Louisiana Public Service Commission, applying the principles of Section 11, subsection 1 (a), (b) and (c) of the Act because we feel that the objectives, the obligations and duties of that Commission do not conflict with those of the S. E. C.

That their orbits of influence need not necessarily clash, that the Congress when it enacted the Public Utility Holding Company Act and particularly when it inserted the proviso which I shall read in a moment in Section 11 (b) (1), that it intended to take care of a situation exactly such as we described on the merits of this case.

And so it is our feeling that a reasonable interpretation of the provisions of the Act would bring the same conclusion here, we hope, that the Fifth Circuit thought was justified under the provisions of the Act.

In other words, that to get change in circumstances, it relates to circumstances justified on the basis of circumstances would be in existence prior to the time to the Commission's original order?

Robert A. Ainsworth, Jr.:

Or at the time of the Commission's original order and subsequent thereto.

Well, there are two things indifferent (Inaudible)

Robert A. Ainsworth, Jr.:

Yes, sir.

But you do -- you do (Inaudible) I take it to support the Fifth Circuit (Voice Overlap) --

Robert A. Ainsworth, Jr.:

I -- I do but I don't find it entirely necessary to do so.

Yes, I do -- I made the point to the Fifth Circuit and they agreed with the point which we raised, but I find that there has been and we have alleged a change of circumstances.

You can take it on either premise if you will.

If you feel that the circumstances at the time based on the erroneous legal interpretations as such that the S. E. C. has committed error, you could find on that basis or if you felt that the facts and circumstances which have occurred subsequent to the earlier order was such that it required a reversal.

You could do it on either point.

Well, there might be a different position (Inaudible) change of circumstances with subsequent change of circumstances that such an order was appealable and after I would suppose it might be doing that, was it not?

Robert A. Ainsworth, Jr.:

Well, that's -- we have nothing in mind except to remand on any set of circumstances.

We don't ask this Court to decide the case.

The Fifth Circuit remanded the case to the S. E. C. and directed the S. E. C. to try it on the basis of the legal interpretations which it had given.

So we -- one of the points I intend to raise here today, the Louisiana Commission seeks to cooperate with the S. E. C., the Louisiana Commission seeks to work with the S. E. C. on this particular proposition.

It feels it has some peculiar knowledge and information about this particular utility that gives it a better opportunity to regulate it.

As a matter of fact, the S. E. C. can't regulate it beyond whether or not it fits into a -- a holding company system.

The Louisiana --

Earl Warren:

Well, Mr -- Mr. Ainsworth, on the question of finality of the S. E. C. order.

How long after the time for appeal has expired, would you say that your Commission in these circumstances would have the right to -- to have the case reopened?

Robert A. Ainsworth, Jr.:

Well, if your --

Earl Warren:

This is 19 months after the time for appeal --

Robert A. Ainsworth, Jr.:

Yes.

Earl Warren:

-- has expired as I recall.