United States National Bank of Oregon v. Independent Insurance Agents of America, Inc.

PETITIONER: United States National Bank of Oregon
RESPONDENT: Independent Insurance Agents Of America, Inc., et al.
LOCATION: City Council of Hialeah

DOCKET NO.: 92-484
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1991-1993)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

CITATION: 508 US 439 (1993)
ARGUED: Apr 19, 1993
DECIDED: Jun 07, 1993

ADVOCATES:
Ann Mary Kappler - on behalf of the Respondent
Christopher J. Wright - on behalf of the Petitioner

Facts of the case

Question

Media for United States National Bank of Oregon v. Independent Insurance Agents of America, Inc.

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 19, 1993 in United States National Bank of Oregon v. Independent Insurance Agents of America, Inc.

William H. Rehnquist:

We'll hear argument first this morning in number 92-484, United States National Bank of Oregon v. the Independent Insurance Agents of America, and a companion case.

Mr. Wright.

Christopher J. Wright:

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

This unusual case arose out of a dispute concerning the proper construction of section 92 of the banking laws, a provision that authorizes banks in small towns to sell insurance.

No question was raised about the validity of section 92.

In fact, the Insurance Agents pointed out that at this late date, they thought there was no real question about whether section 92 remained in existence.

They pointed out that the Controller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve Board has assumed its continued existence for more than 70 years; that the banking industry and the insurance industry had relied on section 92; and that Congress and... and the courts had... had as well.

But the D.C. Circuit, nevertheless, held that section 92 had been repealed by Congress in 1918.

And that's the question presented to this Court today.

The dispute between the parties has necessarily turned on a few phrases and some quotation marks in... in a number of documents that were written more than 70 years ago.

And I'd like to direct the Court's attention to those documents this morning.

But before I do so, I... I'd like to say two things about what I think close analysis of these documents shows.

The first thing it shows is that Congress did not intend to repeal section 92.

The Second Circuit has issued a decision on this issue since the D.C. Circuit handed down the judgment in this case.

And the Second Circuit, in... in holding that section 92 had not been repealed, stressed the clarity of the evidence showing that this is not what Congress had in mind.

And, indeed, the Insurance Agents, while they are now defending the D.C. Circuit's decision that... that section 92 has been repealed, they do not claim, as I understand it anyway, that Congress intended to repeal section 92.

But I don't want to give what I think is the false impression that this case presents some sort of clash between Congress's intent and... and the text that Congress enacted.

The second point that I think that a close analysis of the documents that I want to direct the Court's attention to this morning shows is that in fact the text of those documents supports the conclusion that section 92 was not repealed.

And... and I... and I hope to show that the only thing that's really on the Insurance Agents' side of this dispute is some quotation marks.

And--

Byron R. White:

You... you can't find the section in the United States Code now, can you?

Christopher J. Wright:

--Well, it... it is... it is true that in 1952 the compilers of the United States Code replaced section 92 with a statement that says omit it.

And... and it's followed by an explanation that section 92 was repealed in... in... in 1918.

Byron R. White:

And who were they, the compilers?

Christopher J. Wright:

They... they're... they're an official body whose statements about what the law is, is prima facie evidence of what the law is.

If I... if I may, I'd like to make two points about that, since... since you brought it up.

First, the... the 1926 edition of the U.S. Code, the 1934 edition of the U.S. Code, the 1940 edition, and the 1946 edition all contain section 92.

That is to say, the... in fact, the 1926 edition of the U.S. Code was the very first edition of the U.S. Code--

Byron R. White:

But, in any event, the code has omitted it since 1952?

Christopher J. Wright:

--Since 1952, the Code has omitted it.