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U.S. Supreme Court

Chicago, Burlington & Quincy R. Co. v Railroad Comm'n, 237 U.S. 220 (1915)

Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad

Company v Railroad Commission

No. 198

Argued March 12, 1915

Decided April 12, 1915

237 U.S. 220


Where an order of a state railroad commission requiring interstate trains to stop at certain stations is based not on its discretion, but on the requirements of a state statute, which has been sustained by the state court as a proper exercise of the power of the state, this Court must pass upon the validity of the statute.

A state may require of carriers adequate local facilities even to stoppage of interstate trains or rearrangement of their schedules, but when local requirements have been met, the obligation of the carrier is performed, and the stoppage of interstate trains becomes an improper and illegal interference with interstate commerce, whether the order be by the legislature itself or by an administrative body.

This Court may determine whether local facilities furnished by a carrier are sufficient, that fact being necessarily involved in determining the federal question whether an order affecting interstate trains does or does not amount to a regulation of, and interference with, interstate commerce.

The statute of Wisconsin requiring interstate trains to stop at villages of a specified number of inhabitants without regard to the volume of business at that place does amount to a regulation of, and interference with, and is a burden upon, interstate commerce under the commerce clause of the federal Constitution.

A railroad cannot escape a duty by pleading the expense of its performance; that expense, however, may be considered.

Unless explicitly so declared by the legislature of the state, this Court will not regard every general law of the state applicable to corporations as an amendment to their charters.

This Court will presume that, where the highest court of the state has sustained a statute as constitutional on other grounds than as an amendment to the charter of a corporation affected thereby, it did not regard the statute as such an amendment. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 237 U. S. 221

To hold that corporation are subject to the police power of the state is quite another thing from holding that every general law is an amendment to their charter.

152 Wis. 654 reversed.

The facts, which involve the validity of an order of the Wisconsin State Railroad Commission requiring the stoppage of interstate trains at a local station and the constitutionality of the statute on which it was based, are stated in the opinion. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 237 U. S. 222

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