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U.S. Supreme Court

Allen v. Grand Central Aircraft Co., 347 U.S. 535 (1954)

Allen v. Grand Central Aircraft Co.

No. 450

Argued March 11-12, 1954

Decided May 24, 1954

347 U.S. 535


A complaint filed November 4;1952, by the Wage Stabilization Board with the National Enforcement Commission alleged in substance that, between January 26,1951, and January 1, 1952, appellee had paid wage increases in violation of an order freezing wages at the levels of January 25, under the Defense Production Act of 1950, the substantive provisions of which expired April 30, 1953. On January 14, 1953, the National Enforcement Commission appointed an Enforcement Commissioner to hear the evidence and recommend to the Commission a determination of the issues in the proceeding. The Commissioner set the case for hearing on February 24, 1953, but, in a suit filed by appellee, the District Court enjoined further action.

Held: the pending administrative proceeding is valid, and the judgment of the District Court enjoining that proceeding is reversed. Pp. 347 U. S. 536-555.

1. Once the right of the Government to hold these administrative hearings is established, appellee is not entitled to enjoin them merely because they might jeopardize its bank credit or otherwise be inconvenient or embarrassing. Pp. 347 U. S. 539-540.

2. The Defense Production Act of 1950 authorized the President to apply administrative action to the enforcement of its wage stabilization provisions. Pp. 347 U. S. 541-552,

(a) The Defense Production Act of 1950 is to be read with reference to the Stabilization Act of 1942, which was a model for the 1950 Act. P. 347 U. S. 541.

(b) The history of administrative enforcement under the 1942 Act supports the conclusion that the President had authority under the 1950 Act to apply administrative action to the enforcement of wage stabilization. Pp. 347 U. S. 541-550.

(c) Section 706 of the 1950 Act did not vest enforcement of the Act exclusively in the District Courts and leave to the President only authority to promulgate general regulations. Pp. 347 U. S. 550-552.

(d) The specific language of § 405(b) of the 1950 Act should receive the same construction that was placed on similar language chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 347 U. S. 536

in the 1942 Act. The "general provisions" of § 706 do not restrict the specific provisions of § 405(b) now reenacted. Pp. 347 U. S. 550-552.

(e) It would be premature for this Court to rule upon other questions submitted by appellee concerning the interpretation and constitutionality of the statute until after the required administrative procedures have been exhausted. P. 347 U. S. 553.

3. Such administrative enforcement may be applied even after the restrictions placed on wages under Title IV of the Act have expired, provided the enforcement is limited to violations antedating such expiration. Pp. 347 U. S. 554-555.

(a) There is no express or implied provision in the 1950 Act contrary to the policy of 1 U.S.C. (1952 ed.) § 109, the general savings statute. Pp. 347 U. S. 553-554.

(b) The precise object of the general savings statute is to prevent the expiration of a temporary statute from cutting off appropriate measures to enforce the expired statute in relation to violations of it, or of regulations issued under it, occurring before its expiration. Pp. 347 U. S. 554-555.

(c) The authority of the President to delegate his powers with respect to wage stabilization enforcement to the Director of the Office of Defense Mobilization derives from §§ 703 and 705, and, under § 717(a), such authority remains effective until June 30, 1955. P. 347 U. S. 555.

114 F.Supp. 389 reversed.

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