Thompson v. United States - 343 U.S. 549 (1952)


U.S. Supreme Court

Thompson v. United States, 343 U.S. 549 (1952)

Thompson v. United States

No. 513

Argued April 23, 1952

Decided June 2, 1952

343 U.S. 549

Syllabus

Grain may be shipped over the Missouri Pacific Railroad to Kansas City from Lenora via Atchison, Kansas at 19 per 100 pounds, and the rate to Omaha is 25.5. Upon complaint that the Missouri Pacific's rates discriminate against Omaha, the Interstate Commerce Commission, without attempting to make the inquiry and findings required by § 15 of the Interstate Commerce Act for the establishment of through routes, but finding that a through route from Lenora to Omaha via Concordia and the Burlington Railroad was already in existence, ordered the Missouri Pacific to provide transportation over that route at a rate not exceeding the rate to Kansas City. There was no evidence that the carriers had ever offered through service from Lenora to Omaha via the Burlington.

Held: the order of the Commission was without evidentiary support, and was invalid under the Interstate Commerce Act. Pp. 343 U. S. 550-561.

1. The Commission's finding that a through route from Lenora to Omaha via the Burlington was already in existence is inconsistent with the meaning of "through route" as used in the Interstate Commerce Act. Pp. 343 U. S. 552-561.

(a) The Commission's power to establish through routes is limited by § 15(3) and (4) of the Act, whenever, as here, a carrier would be required to short-haul itself. Pp. 343 U. S. 552-555.

(b) The test of the existence of a "through route" is whether the participating carriers hold themselves out as offering through transportation service. Pp. 343 U. S. 556-557.

(c) The fact that the Missouri Pacific connects with the Burlington at Concordia does not aid the Commission in proving the existence of a through route, since the power to establish through routes under § 15 presupposes such physical connection. Pp. 343 U. S. 557-558.

(d) The showing that the Missouri Pacific publishes a local rate from Lenora to Concordia and that the Burlington publishes a local rate from Concordia to Omaha proves only that each carrier complies with the statutory duty to publish rates for transportation service between points on its own lines. P. 343 U. S. 558.

Page 343 U. S. 550

(e) The existence of through routes from Lenora to points on the Burlington line short of Omaha does not prove the existence of a through route to Omaha via the Burlington. Pp. 343 U. S. 558-559.

2. To sustain the Commission's order in this case would circumvent acts of Congress since 1906 granting the Commission only a carefully restricted power to establish through routes. Pp. 343 U. S. 554-555, 343 U. S. 560-561.

101 F.Supp. 48, reversed.

In a suit to enjoin the enforcement of an order of the Interstate Commerce Commission, 278 I.C.C. 519, a three-judge District Court dismissed appellant's complaint. 101 F.Supp. 48. On direct appeal to this Court under 28 U.S.C. § 1253, reversed, p. 343 U. S. 561.



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