Miller v. United States
233 U.S. 1 (1914)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Miller v. United States, 233 U.S. 1 (1914)

Miller v. United States

No. 178

Argued January 19, 20, 1914

Decided April 6, 1914

233 U.S. 1

Syllabus

The postal contract involved in this action conferred authority on the United States to discontinue its performance and gave the Post Office authorities power after the discontinuance to deal with the mail routes which the contract previously embraced in such manner as was found necessary to subserve the public interest.

The averments of the bill did not show such a state of facts as would justify the conclusion that the action of the Post Office authorities in exerting the lawful power of discontinuance was so impelled by bad faith as to cause the exertion of the otherwise lawful power to be invalid and void.

In determining rights thereunder, this Court must be governed by the contract, and cannot first destroy it in part and then enforce that which remains.

The difficulties in performing a postal contract are presumably in the minds of the contracting parties, and the government cannot be deprived of the protection of the reserved powers of cancellation in case of the failure of the contractor to perform by reason of such difficulties.

Page 233 U. S. 2

Where the hardships endured by a postal route contractor are the results of his own mistake in making an improvident contract, relief can only be obtained at the hands of Congress.

47 Ct.Cl. 146 affirmed.

The facts, which involve the authority of the Postmaster General to cancel postal contracts and the rights of a contractor for a mail route in Alaska in that respect, are stated in the opinion.

Page 233 U. S. 5

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