ARROW TRANSP. CO. V. SOUTHERN RY. CO., 372 U. S. 658 (1963)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Arrow Transp. Co. v. Southern Ry. Co., 372 U.S. 658 (1963)

Arrow Transportation Co. v. Southern Railway Co.

No. 430

Argued January 10, 1963

Decided April 15, 1963

372 U.S. 658


The Interstate Commerce Commission suspended for the maximum statutory period of seven months a schedule of reduced railroad rates on multiple-car grain shipments from certain Mississippi and Ohio River ports to various points in the Southeastern United States, pending a determination as to whether the reduction was lawful. It had not decided that question when the seven-month period expired, and petitioners sued to enjoin respondent railroads from effecting the reductions pending the Commission's decision. They claimed that application of the new rates would irreparably injure their respective economic interests, particularly because they threatened to force the petitioner barge line out of business. After a brief hearing, the District Court concluded that there was great danger of irreparable harm or injury to petitioners if the proposed rates went into effect, but that it had no jurisdiction to grant injunctive relief extending the period of suspension, because § 15(7) of the Interstate Commerce Act vested exclusive power in the Commission to suspend a proposed change of rates for a limited time. The Court of Appeals affirmed.

Held: the judgment is affirmed. Pp. 372 U. S. 659-673.

(a) A review of the history of the suspension power indicates that Congress intended in § 15(7) to vest in the Commission exclusive power to suspend proposed rate changes, and to withdraw from the courts any preexisting power to grant injunctive relief to parties protesting the changes. Pp. 372 U. S. 662-669.

(b) The foregoing conclusion is buttressed by a consideration of the practical consequences of survival of an injunction remedy -- including, inter alia, the dangers of judicial intrusion into the administrative domain. Pp. 372 U. S. 669-672.

(c) Injunctive relief is not authorized in this case by the National Transportation Policy, which obligates the Commission, not the courts, to balance the interests of competing forms of transportation. Pp. 372 U. S. 672-673.

308 F.2d 181, affirmed.

Page 372 U. S. 659

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