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U.S. Supreme Court

Northwestern Bell Tel. Co. v. Nebraska State Ry. Comm'n, 297 U.S. 471 (1936)

Northwestern Bell Telephone Co. v. Nebraska State Railway Commission

No. 350

Argued February 6, 1936

Decided March 2, 1936

297 U.S. 471


1. The record failing to disclose what, if any, federal questions were presented to the state supreme court, review here is accordingly confined to those which are discussed in the opinion of that court. P. 297 U. S. 473.

2. Upon appeal from a judgment of a state supreme court affirming an order of the state commission directing a telephone company doing local and interstate business to use, for purposes of accounting and reporting to the commission, for the year 1934, a composite depreciation rate of 3 1/2% upon all of its depreciable property within the State, held:

(1) Assuming, without deciding, that due process requires that the commission's order be upon notice to the company and opportunity to be heard, the procedure followed by the commission in this case satisfied that requirement. P. 297 U. S. 473.

(2) The Interstate Commerce Commission not having prescribed rates of depreciation pursuant to § 20(5) of the Interstate Commerce chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 297 U. S. 472

Act, it was within the authority of the state commission to prescribe such rates. P. 297 U. S. 477.

(3) The estimated composite rate determined and used by the company, pursuant to the direction of the Interstate Commerce Commission that such rate be used until rates prescribed by that Commission should become effective, cannot be taken as a rate prescribed under § 20(5). P. 297 U. S. 479.

(4) Section 20(5) cannot be construed as authorizing the Interstate Commerce Commission to supplant state power to regulate depreciation rates of telephone companies otherwise than by prescribing a rate administratively determined by the Commission itself. P. 297 U. S. 480.

3. Statutes should be so construed as to avoid doubts of their constitutionality. P. 297 U. S. 480.

128 Neb. 447, 259 N.W. 362, affirmed.

Appeal from a judgment affirming an order of the state commission relating to the accounting of the telephone company.

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