« ForrigeFortsett »
ing murder, will not be allowed to control the conduct of a marshal of the United States acting under and in pursuance of the laws of the United States. In re Neagle, 135 U. S. 1.
It seems to us that the immunity of the instruments of the United States from state control in the performance of their duties extends to a requirement that they desist from performance until they satisfy a state officer upon examination that they are competent for a necessary part of them and pay a fee for permission to go on. Such a requirement does not merely touch the Government servants remotely by a general rule of conduct; it lays hold of them in their specific attempt to obey orders and requires qualifications in addition to those that the Government has pronounced sufficient. It is the duty of the Department to employ persons competent for their work and that duty it must be presumed has been performed. Keim v. United States, 177 U. S. 290, 293.
MR. JUSTICE PITNEY and MR. JUSTICE MCREYNOLDS dissent.
SEABOARD AIR LINE RAILWAY COMPANY ET AL. v. UNITED STATES ET AL.
APPEAL FROM THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA.
No. 27. Argued October 8, 11, 1920.-Decided November 8, 1920.
A discrimination between shippers, in charges for transportation, otherwise violative of § 2 of the Act to Regulate Commerce, cannot be justified by the exigencies of competition between carriers. P. 62. Wight v. United States, 167 U. S. 512.
Counsel for Parties.
254 U. S.
In a case of alleged discrimination, findings of fact made by the Interstate Commerce Commission as to the likeness of contemporary transportation services rendered by carriers to different shippers and as to the substantial similarity of the circumstances and conditions in which they were rendered, cannot be disturbed by the courts, where the action of the Commission is neither arbitrary nor in excess of its authority. P. 62.
Each of certain railroads, in transporting carload freight to and from Richmond, made a practice of absorbing the charges for switching between its line and industries on the lines of the other railroads in that city, if the freight moved over its line to or from points served also by the railroads over which it must be switched in Richmond, but refused to absorb such switching charges where this switching service was to be performed by a non-competitive railroad. Held: (1) That a ruling of the Interstate Commerce Commission finding the practice discriminatory between shippers and unlawful under § 2 of the Commerce Act, and requiring the carriers to abstain from it and to maintain and apply uniform regulations and practices for the absorption of such switching charges and to collect no higher charges from shippers or receivers of such freight at Richmond than they contemporaneously collected from any other shipper or receiver of such freight there for a like service under substantially similar circumstances and conditions, was not arbitrary or beyond the authority of the Commission; (2) that the order was not too vague and uncertain to be enforced. P. 63.
249 Fed. Rep. 368, affirmed.
THE case is stated in the opinion.
Mr. Claudian B. Northrop and Mr. Frank W. Gwathmey for appellants.
Mr. Blackburn Esterline, Special Assistant to the Attorney General, with whom The Solicitor General was on the brief, for the United States.
Mr. Charles W. Needham, with whom Mr. P. J. Farrell was on the brief, for the Interstate Commerce Commission.
MR. JUSTICE DAY delivered the opinion of the court.
In this case a petition was filed in the District Court of the United States for the Eastern District of Virginia to enjoin an order of the Interstate Commerce Commission concerning the absorption of switching charges on the lines of the Seaboard Air Line Railway Company, the Seaboard Air Line Railway, Southern Railway Company, and Atlantic Coast Line Railway Company within the switching limits of these roads as established at Richmond, Virginia.
The Commission's order was made upon a petition of the Richmond Chamber of Commerce averring that the practice of the railroads was discriminatory and unlawful and violative of § 2 of the Act to Regulate Commerce. From the facts found by the Commission it appears that the appellant railroad companies bring freight from the south to Richmond, Virginia, where the same is delivered to industries in the switching limits of that city. If the freight is received at a point served by any two or more of the carriers, the switching charge is absorbed if the freight be delivered on the line of either. But if the delivery is to an industry served only by a non-competitive carrier the switching charge is not absorbed. The Commission illustrated the point by an example: "Oxford, N. C., is a point reached both by the Southern and the Seaboard, but not by the Chesapeake & Ohio. Norlina, N. C., is a local point on the Seaboard. Assume that industries A, B, and C [referring to a diagram] on the Seaboard, the Southern, and the Chesapeake & Ohio, respectively, are similarly located with regard to the interchange tracks of the three carriers at Richmond. On traffic from Oxford to industry B on the Southern, the Seaboard will absorb the Southern's switching charges. But on traffic from Oxford to industry C, on the Chesapeake & Ohio, the Seaboard refuses to absorb the Chesapeake & Ohio's switching
Opinion of the Court.
charges. On traffic from and to Norlina, a local point, however, the Seaboard refuses to absorb all switching charges whatsoever to any off-line industry."
The order complained of directed the three carriers to cease and desist on or before August 1, 1917, and thereafter to abstain, from absorbing switching charges on certain interstate carload freight at Richmond, Virginia, while refusing to absorb such charges on like carload shipments for a like and contemporaneous service under substantially similar circumstances and conditions, such practices having been found in a supplemental report to be unjustly discriminatory and unlawful within § 2 of the Act to Regulate Commerce; and "to establish, on or before August 1, 1917, and thereafter to maintain and apply uniform regulations and practices for the absorption of charges for the switching of interstate carload freight at Richmond, Va., and to collect no higher rates or charges from shippers and receivers of such carload freight at Richmond, Va., than they contemporaneously collect from any other shipper or receiver of such carload freight at Richmond, Va., for a like and contemporaneous service under substantially similar circumstances and conditions." 44 I. C. C. 455.
The District Court denied the application for an injunction, and ordered that the petition be dismissed. 249 Fed. Rep. 368.
The contention of the appellants is that the carriage is not a like and contemporaneous service in the transportation of a like kind of traffic under substantially similar circumstances and conditions.
Section 2 of the Act to Regulate Commerce provides: "That if any common carrier subject to the provisions of this act shall, directly or indirectly, by any special rate, rebate, drawback, or other device, charge, demand, collect, or receive from any person or persons a greater or less compensation for any service rendered, or to be rendered,
Opinion of the Court.
in the transportation of passengers or property, subject to the provisions of this act, than it charges, demands, collects, or receives from any other person or persons for doing for him or them a like and contemporaneous service in the transportation of a like kind of traffic under substantially similar circumstances and conditions, such common carrier shall be deemed guilty of unjust discrimination, which is hereby prohibited and declared to be unlawful." (24 Stat. 379.)
Upon this controversy the Commission in its report said: "Complainant insists that when the line-haul carrier reaches the common point and competes for the traffic to or from Richmond proper, the absorption of the switching charges should not be confined to that traffic for which the switching line competes for the entire haul. That is, if the Seaboard absorbs the switching charges for the shipper on the terminal tracks of the Southern, it should also absorb the switching charges for the shipper on the terminal tracks of the Chesapeake & Ohio. Unless this is done, complainant contends that the two shippers are not upon an equality, since the Seaboard pays for a delivery service to shippers on the terminal tracks of the Southern and declines to pay for a similar delivery service to shippers on the terminal tracks of the Chesapeake & Ohio.
"Section 2 is primarily directed against discrimination between shippers located in the same community. It is aimed to put all shippers within a switching district upon a substantial equality. It provides that where a carrier receives from any person a greater compensation for any service rendered in the transportation of passengers or property than it receives from any other person for doing for him a 'like and contemporaneous service in the transportation of a like kind of traffic under substantially similar circumstances and conditions, such common carrier shall be deemed guilty of unjust discrimination,' a discrimination which is prohibited and declared to be unlaw