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U.S. Supreme Court

Secretary of Agriculture v. Central Roig Rfg. Co., 338 U.S. 604 (1950)

Secretary of Agriculture v. Central Roig Refining Co.

No. 27

Argued October 17, 1949

Decided February 6, 1950*

338 U.S. 604


1. Section 205(a) of the Sugar Act of 1948 authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to make allotments of sugar quotas which may be marketed in the United States, and requires that he do so "in such manner and in such amounts as to provide a fair, efficient, and equitable distribution" of the quota, "by taking into consideration" (1) processings to which proportionate shares pertained, (2) past marketings, and (3) ability to market. In issuing Puerto Rico Sugar Order No. 18, which allotted among the various Puerto Rican refineries the 1948 quota of Puerto Rican refined sugar which could be marketed on the mainland, the Secretary took as the measure of "past marketings" the average of the highest five years of marketings during the 1935-1941 period; took as the measure of "ability to market" the highest marketings of any year during the 1935-1947 period; gave equal weight to these factors, and considered, but concluded to give no weight to, processings to which proportionate shares pertained.

Held: he did not act arbitrarily or exceed the authority granted him by the Act. Pp. 338 U. S. 605-614.

2. The Sugar Act of 1948, as applied in Puerto Rico Sugar Order No. 18, is a valid exercise of the power of Congress under the Commerce Clause, and does not violate the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment. Pp. 338 U. S. 614-619.

3. In view of the conclusion reached on the constitutional issues, which had to be met apart from any jurisdictional question, it is unnecessary in this case to decide the question of Puerto Rico's standing to sue. Pp. 338 U. S. 619-620.

84 U.S.App.D.C. 161, 171 F.2d 1016, reversed.

On appeals from an order issued by the Secretary of Agriculture under the Sugar Act of 1948, the Court of

Page 338 U. S. 605

Appeals reversed the order as not authorized by the Act. 84 U.S.App.D.C. 161, 171 F.2d 1016. This Court granted certiorari. 336 U.S. 959. Nos. 27 and 30 reversed; No. 32 dismissed, p. 338 U. S. 620.

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