Southern Railway Co. v. United States
Annotate this Case
222 U.S. 20 (1911)
U.S. Supreme Court
Southern Railway Co. v. United States, 222 U.S. 20 (1911)
Southern Railway Company v. United States
Argued March 9, 10, 1911
Decided October 30, 1911
222 U.S. 20
The Safety Appliance Act of March 2, 1893, 27 Stat. 531, c. 196, as amended March 2, 1903, 32 Stat. 943, c. 976, embraces all locomotives, cars, and similar vehicles used on any railway that is a highway of interstate commerce, and is not confined exclusively to vehicles engaged in such commerce.
The power of Congress under the commerce clause of the Constitution is plenary and competent to protect persons and property moving in interstate commerce from all danger, no matter what the source may be; to that end, Congress may require all vehicles moving on highways of interstate commerce to be so equipped as to avoid danger to persons and property moving in interstate commerce.
As between opposing views in regard to the construction of a statute, the Court in this case accepts the one in accord with the manifest purpose of Congress.
It is of common knowledge that interstate and intrastate commerce are commingled in transportation over highways of interstate commerce, that trains and cars on the same railroad, whether engaged
in one form of traffic or the other, are interdependent, and that absence of safety appliances from any part of a train is a menace not only to that train but to others.
164 F. 347 affirmed.
The facts, which involve the construction and constitutionality of certain sections of the Safety Appliance Acts, are stated in the opinion.