ICC V. ILLINOIS CENTRAL R. CO., 215 U. S. 452 (1910)

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U.S. Supreme Court

ICC v. Illinois Central R. Co., 215 U.S. 452 (1910)

Interstate Commerce Commission v.

Illinois Central Railroad Company

No. 233

Argued October 15, 1909

Decided January 10, 1910

215 U.S. 452


In determining whether an order of the Interstate Commerce Commission shall be suspended or set aside, power to make -- and not the wisdom of -- the order is the test, and this Court must consider all relevant questions of constitutional power or right, all pertinent questions as to whether the administrative order is within the scope of the delegated authority under which it purports to be made, and also whether, even if in form it is within such delegated authority, it is not so in substance because so arbitrary and unreasonable as to render it invalid.

In determining whether the action of the court below was or was not correct, this Court does so irrespective of the reasoning by which such action was induced.

The equipment of an interstate railroad, including cars for transportation of its own fuel, are instruments of interstate commerce, and subject to control of the Interstate Commerce Commission.

The Act to Regulate Commerce has delegated to the Interstate Commerce Commission authority to consider, where complaint is made on that subject, the question of distribution of coal cars, including the carrier's own fuel cars, in times of car shortage, as a means of prohibiting unjust preference or undue discrimination.

Under § 15 of the Act to Regulate Commerce as amended June 29, 1906, c. 3591, 34 Stat. 585, the Interstate Commerce Commission has power

Page 215 U. S. 453

to deal with preferential and discriminatory regulations of carriers as well as with rates.

It is not beyond the power of the Interstate Commerce Commission to require a railroad in distributing its coal cars to take into account its own fuel cars in order not to create a preference of the mine to which such cars are assigned over other mines.

Where an order of the Interstate Commerce Commission is sustained by the court below in part and only the Commission appeals, the conclusions of the court below as to those portions of the order sustained are not open to inquiry in this Court.

Even if commerce in regard to the purchase of coal at a mine on a railroad line by the railroad company which supplies its own cars may end there, the power to use the equipment of the railroad to move the coal is subject to the control of the Interstate Commerce Commission in order to prevent discrimination against, or undue preference of, other miners and shippers of coal.

The facts, which involve the question of whether a duty rested upon the railroad company to obey an order made by the Interstate Commerce Commission in regard to the distribution of coal cars, are stated in the opinion.

Page 215 U. S. 459

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