United States v. Central Eureka Mining Company

PETITIONER: United States
RESPONDENT: Central Eureka Mining Company
LOCATION: Wolverine Tube, Inc.

DOCKET NO.: 29
DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1957-1958)
LOWER COURT:

CITATION: 357 US 155 (1958)
ARGUED: Jan 07, 1958
DECIDED: Jun 16, 1958

Facts of the case

Question

Media for United States v. Central Eureka Mining Company

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 07, 1958 (Part 1) in United States v. Central Eureka Mining Company

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 07, 1958 (Part 2) in United States v. Central Eureka Mining Company

George Cochran Doub:

-- placed the limit – from production of articles stating an industry could only produce 25% of what it had produced before, but many of them were prohibitory and prohibited the manufacture of articles whether bicycles, stoves or gold mining.

This is what John Lord O'Brian said in his article in 13th George Washington Law Review as to these L orders.

“Early in 1942 there issued a group of limitation orders, the L series which in the space of a few months completely converted American industry from a peace time to a war time economy.

It is doubtful of any serious of legislative or executive orders in this country ever produced a more far reaching change in so short of time.”

Now it's a tribute to that board and its general counsel that their orders and procedures were so well and fairly handled that prior to this decision of the Court of Claims not a single order of the War Production Board was ever invalidated by any court.

(Inaudible)

George Cochran Doub:

No, no not all.

Not at all?

George Cochran Doub:

Not at all.

(Inaudible)

George Cochran Doub:

Yes, because the second paragraph of the order forbade them “from consuming or using any materials in the production of gold.”

(Inaudible)

George Cochran Doub:

But I thought you were talking, addressing yourself to the first provision of the order oh, no I would say -- you mean if there had been no orders?

What I am asking you if you eliminate from this order the first condition and the (Inaudible) requiring closing down could the companies or any of them that continue to operate despite the restrictions on their materials and procurement requirements.

George Cochran Doub:

Well then if you -- forget the first provision and then forget the second provision that I mentioned, I think they could have continued.

Now there had been some prior restrictions that they were suffering, living with prior to this order that had cut their production, I don't recall the number of tons but I know the labor force had been reduced over a period of the first six months of 1942 or rather down to October '42 it had already been reduced quite materially.

But the effect of this order was to reduce it by 19000 men to 6500 and I think it had been up to about 25000.

They could have, they could have continued yes and they undoubtedly will continue consuming critical manpower and consuming critical materials desperately needed elsewhere for our war effort, but I'll come to that, I'll say more on that in a moment.

Earl Warren:

Well Mr. Doub may I ask this just to reduce it to absolute minimum?

Suppose you had a one man mine and the miner himself the owner wanted to work him there without to -- maybe with day wages or little more with -- without using any critical materials or anything else that was proscribed by the government, could he do it --

George Cochran Doub:

That -- under that order?

Earl Warren:

Yes.

George Cochran Doub:

Well there is a -- he wouldn't have fallen within the scope of this order.

Earl Warren:

Well that's what I wanted to know.

George Cochran Doub:

Yes.

Earl Warren:

And therefore he could work it as I understand --

George Cochran Doub:

He could have worked that, yes.

Now not a single business before coming down to this order I want to talk generally for a few more minutes about what the War Production Board did, now not a single business in the United States prejudiced by these other orders obtained any compensation for their lawsuits.

For example in St. Regis Paper Company case and it had a loss of $3 million because of an order prohibiting the consumption of pulp wood by any paper company in a certain geographical area.

And that prevented its plants from obtained pulp order and the Court of Claims held the order was a valid war time regulation under the statutory power to allocate materials and facilities and was not a taking of private property and you denied certiorari.