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U.S. Supreme Court

Georgia Public Service Commission v. United States, 283 U.S. 765 (1931)

Georgia Public Service Commission v. United States

No. 555

Argued April 30, 1931

Decided June 1, 1931

283 U.S. 765


1. After a full hearing on the interstate rates on certain commodities, in connection with a complaint that corresponding intrastate rates were prejudicial to persons and localities in interstate commerce, the Interstate Commerce Commission fixed the interstate scale, found that there was no transportation reason for intrastate rates on a different basis, and left it to the state rate-fixing body, a party to the proceedings, to authorize a revision of the intrastate rates in harmony with the interstate adjustment. This not having been done, and the carriers having reopened the case before the Commission to determine whether the prescribed intrastate rates would result in undue prejudice to persons and localities in interstate commerce and in unjust discrimination against such commerce, held that it was not necessary, under § 13(4) of the Interstate Commerce Act, that the Commission should consider anew the reasonableness of the interstate rates in the absence of evidence to show that conditions affecting them had changed since they were prescribed. P. 283 U. S. 769.

2. An order of the Interstate Commerce Commission requiring carriers to establish intrastate rates not lower, distance considered, than those "contemporaneously applicable" to interstate transportation on the same commodities, etc., construed as referring to the interstate rates as maintained and applicable at the date of the order, and not to such as might be made by the carriers in the future. P. 283 U. S. 770.

3. An order of the Interstate Commerce Commission is to be construed in the light of its accompanying report. P. 283 U. S. 771.

4. Possible uncertainty of application in isolated instances is not a sufficient ground for setting aside in its entirety, by judicial process, a carefully drawn order of the Interstate Commerce Commission affecting rates, otherwise valid and practicable of operation over a wide territory. P. 283 U. S. 772.

5. The appropriate remedy under such circumstances is an application to the Commission requesting it to suspend the operation of chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 283 U. S. 766

the order insofar as it may affect the isolated cases, and, if necessary, to enter an independent order dealing specifically with them. P. 283 U. S. 772.

6. Such specific order, if appropriate for review under the Urgent Deficiencies Act, could be dealt with by the courts without interfering with the operation of the order as a whole or with the flexible administrative processes by which it may from time to time be modified. Id.

7. Findings of the Commission as to undue disparity between intrastate and interstate rates held sufficient to support an order, statewide in operation and governing many intrastate rates. P. 283 U. S. 773.

8. In a proceeding under § 13(4) involving the examination and readjustment of scales of intrastate rates, statewide in scope and applicable to shipments between hundreds of points of origin and destination, general findings may be made from typical instances. P. 283 U. S. 774.

9. Whether the Commission should conform to its own previous decisions respecting the relation of rates to distance and to single and joint-line hauls is a matter of administrative discretion not reviewable by a court. P. 283 U. S. 774.

42 F.2d 467 affirmed.

Appeal from a decree of the district court of three judges dismissing a bill to enjoin an order of the Interstate Commerce Commission. See also 39 F.2d 167. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 283 U. S. 767

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