In that broader sense I would doubt that the public interest would be paramount where you are saving time or money, but this Court is going to rule that the public interest is of such compass that it will have to be virtually a matter of Congressional delimitations to spell out the public interest as against that clash of which is better for the country, transportation by rail or transportation by air. It may come to a compromise and establish a new type.
The Court stresses that because the Court will now rule as a matter of law that the Postmaster General is acting beyond those limits of authority delegated to him by the Congress of the United States, which has from the people the sole directive to establish post offices and post roads.
As I make this finding, I want to move quickly over to the field of jurisdiction and venue.
This particular court, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, is unusual in the Federal set-up because in addition to its broad federal powers it also has a common law jurisdiction. The Congress of the United States under the legislation promulgated for the Post Office Department has given his power sufficient that he can prescribe and has and does compel these railroads to maintain unusual and peculiar type of equipment. It is equipment that goes out with the passenger trains, and if they are compelled to take it, set it up as a means of being equipped; if they are to be denied its use under another administrative procedure, then there will become an impaired use, they have suffered an economic loss, and under a broad common law complaint they have a cause of action.
Again this Court has the broad equitable powers of a common law Court, and where there is an unfair practice indulged in by one, or preferences are made in an equal field of competition, it would appear that under its broad equitable powers in the field of mandatory and restraining injunctions that again this Court had jurisdiction.
This Court will also rule that by virtue of the Administrative Procedure Act, Section 10(a), 5 U.S.C.A. § 1009(a), in particular, and the others touching on the question of jurisdiction, that in the language as employed, 'any person,' and that means both natural and corporate, 'suffering legal wrong because of any agency action, or adversely affect or aggrieved' -- and at this point, parenthetically speaking, the Court will rule that this is an agency action on the part of the Postmaster -- 'by such action within the meaning of any relevant statute' -- the relevant statutes come out of the fixing of the mail rate prescribing its type, the relations between the legislative branch on the one hand and the administrative on the other over this long period of years -- 'shall be entitled to judicial review.'
Here, of course, these railroads are being adversely affected, and they are also aggrieved by this situation.
The Court will rule, therefore, that it does have jurisdiction. And the Court will make these following conclusions of law:
The Court will rule that it does have jurisdiction under its common law powers, under its equity powers, and by virtue of the Administrative Procedure Act.
The Court will therefore rule that the plaintiffs have a standing to sue, that their type of relief is the type which normally would flow from this type of complaint.
The Court will also rule that as a matter of law, under the grant of moneys to run, maintain and operate the Post Office, the Postmaster General did have the right to experiment, his actions in that sense are not unlawful, but the Court will rule that prolonged experiments which by the running of time demonstrate that the knowledge acquired by the experiment has been received and that it is a promulgation of an executive attempt to usurp the power of the legislative function is unlawful.
Of course, in the present posture of the case there is the experiment between Washington and New York, Chicago and Washington, and the experiments conducted in Florida. But these parties before me as plaintiffs are not affected by that.
The Court will rule as a matter of law that the Postmaster has a right to make this experiment on the West Coast, limited, as the Court said, in that it shall not be unduly prolonged.
Since this action began in November, the only matters before the Court are on affidavits, and they do not show at the moment an irreparable injury to the plaintiffs.
Accordingly, the Court will grant judgment on the motion of the plaintiffs for summary judgment and rule that prolonged experimental dispatch of first-class mail by air without Congressional sanction is not a power granted to the Postmaster General of the United States. On the other hand, for the failure at this point of the plaintiffs to show irreparable injury the motion for permanent injunction will be denied.
© 1992-2004 VersusLaw Inc.