O'Keefe v. United States - 240 U.S. 294 (1916)
U.S. Supreme Court
O'Keefe v. United States, 240 U.S. 294 (1916)
O'Keefe v. United States
Argued December 15, 1915
Decided February 21, 1916
240 U.S. 294
The Interstate Commerce Commission has jurisdiction to make an order requiring trunk line railways to reopen through routes and publish joint rates to interstate destinations with tap lines with which they have connection, and to prohibit the trunk lines from making to any tap line an allowance or division out of the joint rates in excess of a maximum prescribed.
The order in this case was not based on erroneous principles of law, nor did it exclude competitive conditions from consideration, but the Commission established maximum divisions for the purpose of preventing preferences, discriminations, and rebates as methods of competition.
This Court will presume that the Interstate Commerce Commission is expert in matters of rate regulation and able to draw inferences from the facts before it that are not necessarily obvious to others, and, in this case, held that, from the record, it appears that the tap line problem is so complex and the importance of a general rule for allowances to tap lines based on simple elements is so obvious, that this Court will not hold that the adoption of a mileage basis for such allowances is sufficient to sustain a charge of arbitrary action.
A trunk line has no constitutional right to build up its business by doing acts that Congress has forbidden from considerations affecting public welfare, and an order of the Interstate Commerce Commission prescribing maximum rates, if otherwise legal, does not deprive a trunk line of its property without due process of law by denying it the right to compete for business in that manner.
Quaere whether a trunk line can object to an order of the Interstate Commerce Commission prescribing maximum allowances to connecting lines on the ground that the allowance is too small, and therefore deprives it of the opportunity to pay a larger amount and obtain the business.
The facts, which involve the validity of an order of the Interstate Commerce Commission establishing maximum allowances to and divisions of joint rates, with tap lines by trunk lines, are stated in the opinion.