Norfolk & Western Ry. Co. v. Conley - 236 U.S. 605 (1915)
U.S. Supreme Court
Norfolk & Western Ry. Co. v. Conley, 236 U.S. 605 (1915)
Norfolk & Western Railway Company v. Conley
Argued October 13, 1914
Decided March 8, 1915
236 U.S. 605
Northern Pacific Ry. v. North Dakota, ante, p. 236 U. S. 585, followed to effect that, while the state has a broad field for the exercise of its power in fixing intrastate rates for common carriers, it may not require them to transport a segregated commodity or class of traffic either at less than cost or for a mere nominal consideration.
This Court must, on writ of error under § 237, Jud.Code, analyze the facts as found by the state court if it is necessary to do so in order to determine whether that which purports to be a finding of fact is so interwoven with the question of law involving the federal right asserted as to be in substance a decision of the latter.
An analysis of the evidence in this case shows that the two-cent a mile passenger rate established by c. 41 of the Acts of 1907 of West Virginia affords such a narrow, if any, margin over the cost of the traffic that the plaintiff in error is forced to carry passengers, if not at or below cost, with merely a nominal reward, and it follows that the state exceeded its power in enacting the same, and that it is void as an attempt to deprive the carriers of their property without due process of law in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.
The facts, which involve the constitutionality under the due process provision of the Fourteenth Amendment of a statute of West Virginia fixing the maximum fare for
passengers on railways at two cents a mile, are stated in the opinion.