Harriman v. ICC, 211 U.S. 407 (1908)
U.S. Supreme CourtHarriman v. ICC, 211 U.S. 407 (1908)
Harriman v. Interstate Commerce Commission
Argued November 3, 4, 1908
Decided December 14, 1908
211 U.S. 407
The primary purpose of the Interstate Commerce Act is to regulate interstate business of carriers, and the secondary purpose, that for which the commission was established, to enforce the regulations enacted by it, and the power to require testimony is limited, as is usual in English-speaking countries, to investigations concerning a specific breach of the existing law; this power is not extended to mere investigations by provisions in any of the amendatory acts in regard to annual reports of interstate carriers, or of the commission, or for the purpose of recommending legislation.
Quaere whether Congress has unlimited power to compel testimony in regard to subjects which do not concern direct breaches of law, and whether, and to what extent, it can delegate such power.
The facts are stated in the opinion.