United States v. Powers,
307 U.S. 214 (1939)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Powers, 307 U.S. 214 (1939)

United States v. Powers

No. 687

Argued April 21, 1939

Decided May 15, 1939

307 U.S. 214


1. Whether an offense against a temporary Act may be punished after the Act has expired depends upon the legislative purpose. P. 307 U. S. 216.

2. An Act of Congress, designed to protect interstate and foreign commerce from "contraband" oil and to encourage oil conservation and containing administrative and punitive provisions for its effectuation, provided that it should "cease to be in effect on June 16, 1937." It was amended June 14, 1937, by an Act which declared its purpose to continue the earlier Act until June 30, 1939, and which merely changed the date of expiration accordingly.

Held, a clear indication of purpose to treat the entire Act as if, by its original terms, it was to expire on the day to which it was so extended, and that violations of the Act committed prior to the original date of expiration were indictable thereafter. P. 307 U. S. 217.

3. Article I, § 9, cl. 3 of the Federal Constitution, proscribing ex post facto laws, does not bar such prosecution. P. 307 U. S. 218.

4. A statute susceptible of more than one interpretation should be given that which will make it effective. P. 307 U. S. 217.


Appeal under the Criminal Appeals Act and § 238 Jud.Code, from a judgment sustaining demurrers to an indictment and motions to quash it.

Page 307 U. S. 215

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