Utah Public Service Commission v. El Paso Natural Gas Company

PETITIONER: Utah Public Service Commission
RESPONDENT: El Paso Natural Gas Company
LOCATION: Chimel's Home

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1969)

CITATION: 395 US 464 (1969)
ARGUED: Apr 29, 1969
DECIDED: Jun 16, 1969

Facts of the case


Media for Utah Public Service Commission v. El Paso Natural Gas Company

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 29, 1969 in Utah Public Service Commission v. El Paso Natural Gas Company

Earl Warren:

776, Utah Public Service Commission, appellant versus El Paso Natural Gas Company et al.

Attorney General Romney.

Vernon B. Romney:

Yes, sir.

Public Service Commission of Utah is present sir.

Earl Warren:

I beg your pardon.

Vernon B. Romney:

Mr. Chief Justice and Justices, if it please the Court.

The Utah Public Service Commission was an intervenor in this case filed a notice of appeal on September 18, 1969.

At that time, Mr. Phil L. Hansen was the Attorney General of the State of Utah.

The appeal was actually handled by Daniel L. Berman, a special assistant to the Attorney General of the State of Utah.

Upon taking office on January 6th of 1969 as the Attorney General of Utah, I began a careful investigation of the merits of prosecuting the appeal or of dismissing it and this I did in the association with the Governor of the State of Utah, Calvin L. Rampton.

We eventually determined that it was in the best interest of the State of Utah to move to dismiss the appeal thereupon took steps in February to perfect the dismissal and as stated in our short brief are reasons were among others that we felt no responsibility for the litigation of the Clayton Act and felt this was the responsibility of -- if or anyone that is to appeal of the Justice Department and none of us.

We felt for one thing that would be a tremendous amount of expense to our small state that we did not have on our legal staff the experience and experts in the field that would be necessary for us to employ them and to reproduce the record and perform many activities and employ many people which would take a considerable amount of our money that was very difficult thing to do.

And we thought it would take a lot of time and would prevent the termination of this case which has dragged on, I understand for a period of about 11 years.

We determined that the issues which were involved in our jurisdictional statement were those which affected in the main other states are good deal more than they did to Utah and it appeared that the other states were not interested in appealing and took no effort to perfect their appeals.

We felt no obligation to carry out our appeal in the interest of these other states and other people at our own expense and a word we were left to go alone.

We also felt there was no evidence that another company then Colorado Interstate Gas Company would do a better job.

We felt the Colorado Interstate Gas Company had great experience, solid background, and the financial stability to do the work well and we felt that they were eventually we came to feel after getting to know them that they would be good neighbor with us and Utah would be very helpful to us and after we came to the point of determining that our principal real interest which were of an economic nature in this case would be provided for that is they will keep their headquarters in Salt Lake City that they would keep the employees who work there, all of them on the job at the same or at increased rates of compensation that indeed they would employ other people in those presently on a payroll in the El Paso Headquarters.

When all of these things were determined we felt that we would benefit materially from having Colorado Interstate Gas Company upheld as the company to take over the Northwest Pipeline System.

Some allegations have been made that this was unusual thing that the governor of the State of Utah signed the motion before the Court to dismiss the appeal but this was done only in the interest of time and the fact that the governor at that time was a member of the bar of the Supreme Court of United States and that Mr. Berman determined that he should do it in this manner.

No time has been any difference of opinion since I first learned of the governor's attitude toward this case.

He felt that it should be dismissed.

I did and the Public Service Commission of the State of Utah joined me in this belief.

Thank you sir.

Earl Warren:

Mr. Payne.

Leon M. Payne:

Mr. Chief Justice and members of the Court.

I'm counsel for El Paso Natural Gas Company and have been serving as such since this Court's decision in Cascade.

As I understand the questions which were before the Court for discussion this morning.

They relate to two questions.

One, should the motion of Utah to dismiss the case be granted or denied, and secondly, should Mr. Bennett's motion for another hearing in the case be granted or denied.

I would argue to you that the motion of Utah should be granted.