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U.S. Supreme Court

Isbrandtsen-Moller Co. v. United States, 300 U.S. 139 (1937)

Isbrandtsen-Moller Co. v. United States

No. 307

Argued January 15, 1937

Decided February 1, 1937

300 U.S. 139


1. An order of the Secretary of Commerce requiring a steamship company to file a copy or summary of its books and records for a specified period, which should show each commodity carried from the United States to a foreign country, with point of shipment, point of destination, and rate charged or collected, the effective date of the rate, and trans-shipment and terminal charges and rules affecting rates or value of the service rendered, held within the purview of § 21 of the Shipping Act of 1916. P. 300 U. S. 144.

2. An administrative order justified by a lawful purpose is not rendered illegal by the existence of another motive in the mind of the officer issuing it. P. 300 U. S. 145.

3. An order not calling for the production, or demanding an inspection, of books or documents, but calling for a copy or a summary, is not a search or seizure within the Fourth Amendment. P. 300 U. S. 145.

4. An order made under § 21 of the Shipping Act of 1916, directed to a single carrier, held not to have been shown to be discriminatory against that carrier in favor of competitors. P. 300 U. S. 146.

5. Abolition of the Shipping Board and transfer of its functions to the Department of Commerce, by Executive Order, if not authorized by Title IV of the Legislative Appropriation Act of June 30, 1932, as amended, was impliedly ratified by the Merchant Marine Act of 1936, which refers to the functions of the Shipping Board as "now vested in the Department of Commerce pursuant to Section 12 of the President's Executive Order No. 6166." P. 300 U. S. 146.

6. Even assuming that an order of the Secretary of Commerce requiring an ocean carrier to furnish data as to rates, etc., under § 21 of the Shipping Act was invalid upon the ground that the transfer of the duties of the Shipping Board to the Commerce Department by Executive Order involved an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power to the President, the question is rendered moot by § 204(a) of the Merchant Marine Act of 1936, which provides that all functions, etc., of the Shipping Board, "now vested in the Department of Commerce" by the President's order, are transferred to the United States Maritime Commission,

Page 300 U. S. 140

and by an order of that Commission providing that such orders of the Secretary of Commerce shall continue in effect etc. P. 300 U. S. 148.

7. Such an administrative order, which merely calls for data concerning the carrier's business, need not be preceded by notice and hearing. P. 300 U. S. 149.

14 F.Supp. 407 affirmed.

Appeal from a decree of the District Court, of three judges, which denied an interlocutory injunction and dismissed the bill, in a suit by an ocean carrier to enjoin the enforcement of an order made by the Secretary of Commerce under the Shipping Act.

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