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U.S. Supreme Court

Detroit & Mackinac Ry. Co. v. Michigan R. Comm'n, 235 U.S. 402 (1914)

Detroit & Mackinac Railway Company

v. Michigan Railroad Commission

No. 209

Argued December 2, 1914

Decided December 14, 1914

235 U.S. 402


As the Constitution of Michigan separates legislative, executive, and judicial powers and plainly forbids giving the judicial department legislative powers, this Court will not, in the absence of a decision to that effect by the state court, believe that the legislature, in establishing a railroad commission and granting power of review to the courts, intended to clothe them with power to act in a legislative capacity. Atlantic Coast Line v. Prentis, 211 U. S. 210, distinguished. Under the Michigan Railroad Commission Act, as construed in the light of the provisions of the constitution of that state, the function of the supreme court of the state in reviewing an order of the Commission fixing rates is judicial, and not legislative, and its final order or decree sustaining a rate established by the Commission as not confiscatory chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 235 U. S. 403

is res judicata, and can be so pleaded in another action in the federal court to prevent the Commission from enforcing such rates. Where the state court, in construing a statute of the state, has held that the establishment of rule regulating public utility corporations is a legislative function, this Court, in the absence of a clear decision of the state court to the contrary, assume that the same principle applies also to rates. Michigan Telephone Co. v. St. Joseph, 121 Mich. 502 followed.

In any ordinary, even though judicial, proceeding a party is bound to present his whole case to the court. Calaf v. Calaf, 232 U. S. 371.

Whether the Railroad Commission of Michigan did or did not exceed its jurisdiction in making order establishing rates, the supreme court of the state had jurisdiction, and one seeking to review the orders is bound by the decree of that court.

208 F.8d 4 affirmed.

The facts, which involve the construction of the Michigan Railroad Commission Act and the effect of a decree of the supreme court of the state sustaining orders of the Commission, are stated in the opinion.

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