Proctor & Gamble Co. v. ICC - 225 U.S. 282 (1912)
U.S. Supreme Court
Proctor & Gamble Co. v. ICC, 225 U.S. 282 (1912)
Proctor & Gamble Company v. Interstate Commerce Commission
Argued January 11, 12, 1912
Decided June 7, 1912
225 U.S. 282
Subdivision 2 of § 1 of the act creating the Commerce Court, now § 207 of the new Judicial Code, giving the Commerce Court jurisdiction of cases brought to enjoin, set aside, annul or suspend orders of the Interstate Commerce Commission, confers on that court jurisdiction only to entertain complaints as to affirmative orders of the Commission.
Under the act, the Commerce Court is not given jurisdiction to redress complaints based exclusively, as in this case, on the ground that the Commission has refused the relief asked on the ground that it could not award it.
To construe the act creating the Commerce Court so as to give it jurisdiction to originally interpret the administrative features of the Interstate Commerce Act and to construe a refusal of the Commission to grant relief as an affirmative order would frustrate the legislative policy which led to the adoption of the act, and would multiply the evils which it was designed to prevent.
The act creating the Commerce Court was intended to be a part of the existing system for regulating interstate commerce. While originally the duty of determining whether an order of the Commission should be enforced carried with it the obligation to consider both the facts and the law, it had come to pass prior to the adoption of the act creating the Commerce Court that the jurisdiction of courts over orders of the Commission is confined to determining whether they were in violation of the Constitution or failed to conform to statutory authority, and to ascertaining whether power had been arbitrarily exercised beyond the power conferred.
Under the express reservation in the last paragraph of § 207, Judicial Code, a claim that a constitutional right asserted in a petition to the Interstate Commerce Commission has been denied by that body, if independent of all questions of rights and remedies under the Interstate
Commerce Act, is beyond the jurisdiction of the Commerce Court.
Where the constitutional question is dependent upon provisions of the Interstate Commerce Act, it is subject to the precedent action of the Commission, as to which the Commerce Court only has jurisdiction in case of a prior affirmative order of the Commission.
The Commerce Court has no jurisdiction over a claim made by the owner of private cars to recover on a money demand based on the illegality of charges alleged to have been wrongfully exacted by the railroad companies and which the Commission had refused to allow.
188 F. 221 reversed.
The facts, which involve the construction of the statute creating the Commerce Court and the determination of extent of jurisdiction of that court, are stated in the opinion.