United States v. Howard Page 5

United States v. Howard general information

Media for United States v. Howard

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - December 06, 1956 in United States v. Howard

Leonard B. Sand:

And as I have -- I've previously made reference to Section 669 of Title 16 in which --

Felix Frankfurter:

Now, let me put my eyes on it.

Leonard B. Sand:

That's on pages 24 and 25 of the Government's brief.

Felix Frankfurter:

All right.

Do you mind pointing out (Inaudible)

Leonard B. Sand:

Well, the -- the italicized language there, Your Honor.

Felix Frankfurter:

Who there reflective statements (Inaudible)

Leonard B. Sand:

Authorized by the state constitution to make laws governing the conservation of wildlife.

So, Congress here has recognized that laws using not rules or regulations but the very word “laws” may be promulgated by a State through an agency other than the legislature.

And that has more importance than your first?

Leonard B. Sand:

I -- I think it does, sir.

And the legislative history to the -- to the 1947 amendment to the bill, cited at pages 29 and 30 of the Government's brief, in which the intent there is explicitly stated to collaborate in the enforcement of protective laws and regulations at the point where state jurisdiction ends.

Hugo L. Black:

What page is that?

Leonard B. Sand:

Page -- at the bottom of page 29, the top of page 30 of the Government's brief.

The Government feels that this shows a -- an intent upon the part of Congress not to have the Black Bass Act apply only in the six States where the subject matter is dealt with exclusively by the legislature but in all 48 States including the 42 where rules and regulations are promulgated by administrative agencies.

Felix Frankfurter:


Leonard B. Sand:

The -- the Act as originally passed in 1926 related only to Black Bass.It was subsequently amended to apply to all game fish and in 1952, it was amended to apply to all fish.

Felix Frankfurter:

The question is the same as to all fish.

Leonard B. Sand:

All fish.

The Government submits that the decision of the court below is clearly erroneous and should be reversed.

Earl Warren:

Mr. Thacker.

Clarence L. Thacker:

If it please the Court.

I might say that at the outset here that if Ludenia Howard, a citizen of the State of Florida had known that she was to be charged on a game or on a fish violation case and that then mind of the United States Governor -- Governor would put her in this Supreme Court prior to a time that her innocence whereas was still presumed to be there and before she had been convicted, I dare say gentlemen, that she would have been much better off had she been not guilty but plead guilty in the lower court.

And I say that advisedly and very sincerely, and I say it for this reason, that all of us know that more and more today that administrative agencies and commissioners are governing our very lives and it's very important that when we consider the rules and regulations that are made with these agencies and the statutes that are passed by the Congress in a criminal nature that our individual citizens do not -- do not -- not -- do not lose their liberty through actions of these boards and commissions to an insidious process.

Now, I want to change my argument a little bit today from what I have planned to do by virtue of certain of the questions that came up here.

We don't contend in any respect that the rules and regulations of the Game and Fish Commission of Florida are not enforceable in Florida if they were within the scope of the constitutional amendment was created.

But we do say, and very sincere to this Court, that even though that rule is enforceable in Florida, it was not within the contemplation of the Black Bass Act which was passed in 1926 that those rules and regulations should be the law of Florida.

And I think one reason is very obvious on the face of it and that is in 1926, when that Black Bass Act was passed which prohibited the transportation of black bass within the States or without the States, if it was against the law of that State, that the constitutional amendment creating the game and fish -- Fresh Water Fish Commission in Florida did not come into being until some 20 years later, almost 20 years later.

So, I think it's observed on the face of it to say that Congress meant at that time that the law of authority was going to apply to the rules and regulations that came into effect in the State of Florida almost 20 years later.

Felix Frankfurter:

But the federal's -- the Black Bass Act wasn't to strictly to apply though, was it?