White v. Johnson,
282 U.S. 367 (1931)

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U.S. Supreme Court

White v. Johnson, 282 U.S. 367 (1931)

White v. Johnson

No. 29

Decided January 5, 1931

282 U.S. 367


1. Upon certificate, the Court will not answer questions of objectionable generality, and a question is improper which is so broad and indefinite as to admit of one answer under one set of circumstances and a different answer under another. P. 282 U. S. 371.

2. A question certified which inquires merely whether the employment of tangible property in an existing business begets in the proprietor a "property" in the continuance of the business, within the meaning of that word as used in the Fifth Amendment, is too broad and indefinite, and need not be answered. P. 282 U. S. 371.

3. The Court is not required to answer questions certified which are contingent upon an affirmative response to another question which it has declined to answer. P. 282 U. S. 372.

4. Where the answer to a question certified involves merely an examination of an Act of Congress and a determination whether, on its face, it violates the Fifth Amendment, it is an academic question, which neither this Court nor the court below is authorized to answer. P. 282 U. S. 373.

5. Where a question certified, which involves the validity of the Radio Act of 1927 in respect of its alleged failure to provide a specific method of procedure or to furnish a standard of conduct for the Commission in the matter of applications for renewals of broadcasting licenses, is so framed that, to answer it, the Court would have to treat the proceedings before the Commission in the complainant's case as irrelevant, to disregard the Commission's interpretation of the language of the Act as applied to him under

Page 282 U. S. 368

all the circumstances of his case, and to ignore his admitted failure to avail himself of the right of review conferred by the statute, the question need not be answered. P. 282 U. S. 374.

Response to questions certified by the circuit court of appeals on an appeal from a decree of the district court dismissing a bill quia timet to enjoin the enforcement of the criminal provisions of the Radio Act of 1827 for violation of an order of the Radio Commission. The right of appeal to the Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia from the Commission's order, authorized by § 16 of the Act, was not pursued.

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