Page images


Section 1.—THE CONGRESS.

[ocr errors]

All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist* of a Senate and House of Representatives.

а Legislative Power in General

The provision “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress” means that Congress, “ within the

, limits of its powers, and observing the restrictions imposed by the Constitution, may in its discretion enact any statute appropriate to accomplish the objects for which the National Government was established.”

Burton v. U. S., 202 U. S. 344. A Congress of the United States

A joint resolution of Congress suspending the execution of a certain act previously passed in the same session “until the further order of Congress,” refers generally to "A Congress of the United States,” and does not intend the suspension during the existence of that session of Congress only.

Lerey v. Stockslager, 129 U. S. 475.
Powers of Houses of Congress Acting Separately

Neither branch of Congress when acting separately can law-
fully exercise more power than is conferred by the Constitution
on the whole body, except in the few instances where authority
is conferred on either House separately, as in the case of im-
Kilbourn v. Thompson, 103 U. S. 168.

See also
U. S. v. Nashville, etc., R. Co., 217 Fed. 254, as to a resolution of the

Senate not concurred in by the House.
Power of Investigation

The powers of Congress in respect to investigation and legislation are not absolutely identical, but the power of investigation is the wider and extends to matters on which it could not constitutionally legislate directly, if they are reasonably calculated to afford information useful and material in the framing of constitutional legislation.

I. C. C. v. Harriman, 157 Fed. 432, order modified in Harriman v.

I. C. C., 211 U. S. 407.
Kilbourn v. Thompson, 103 U. S. 168.
In re Pacific Ry. Comm., 32 Fed. 241.

[merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Sec. 1.–The Congress. Power to Punish for Contempt

Although the House can punish its own Members for disorderly conduct, or for failure to attend its sessions, and can decide cases of contested elections, etc., and may, where the examination of witnesses is necessary to the performance of its duties, fine or imprison a contumacious witness, there is not found in the Constitution any general power vested in either House to punish for contempt.

Kilbourn v. Thompson, 103 U. S. 168, overruling Anderson 0. Dunn,

6 Wheat. 204. Delegation of Legislative Power

In General

It is within the power of Congress to vest in executive officers the power to make necessary rules and regulations to enforce the provisions of a law, but this is not deemed to extend to the making of rules to subvert the statute.

Field v. Clark, 143 U. S. 649.
U. S. v. Grimaud, 220 U. S. 506.
Morrill v. Jones, 106 U. S. 466.
U. S. v. Eaton, 144 U. S. 677.
Caha v. U. S., 152 U. S. 211.
In re Kollock, 165 U. S. 526.
Buttfield v. Stranahan, 192 U. S. 470.
U. S. v. United Copper Co., 196 U. S. 207.
Union Brdg. Co. v. U. S., 204 U. S. 364.
Williamson v. U. S., 207 U. S. 425.
American Sugar Ref. Co. v. U. S., 211 U. S. 155.
U. S. v. Antikamnia Co., 231 U. S. 654.
Mutual Film Corp. v. Ohio, 236 U. S. 230.
Oceanic Nav. Co. v. Stranahan, 214 U. S. 320.

Wichita R. Co. v. Kansas, 260 U. S. 48.
Congress may make the revival of a law conditioned upon a
fact then contingent, and empower the President to declare by
proclamation that such fact has occurred, and the law is

The Aurora v. U. S., 7 Cranch 382.
Congress can not delegate its power to make laws to an execu-
tive department or to an administrative officer, nor does the
power delegated to such department or officer carry with it the
authority to repeal, extend, or modify an act of Congress.

Morrill v. Jones, 106 U. S. 406.
To the Judiciary

Congress has the power to delegate to the Federal courts the power of making and altering the modes of proceedings in suits.

Wayman v. Southard, 10 Wheat. 42.
L'. S. Bank v. Halstead, 10 Wheat. 51.
In re Chapman, 166 U. S. 661.

Standard Oil Co. v. U. S., 221 U. S. 1.
To Interstate Commerce Commission

The commission is not and can not be invested, under the Constitution, with legislative power. “Congress has laid down general rules for the guidance of the commission, leaving to it merely the carrying out of details in the exercise of the power

[ocr errors]

Sec. 1.–The Congress. so conferred. This, we think, is not a delegation of legislative authority.”

I. C. C. v. Cincinnati, etc., R. Co., 76 Fed. 183, affirmed in 167 U. 8.

Kansas City Sou. R, Co. v. U. S., 231 U. S. 423.

See also
Texas, etc., R. Co. v. I. C. C., 162 U. S. 197.
Intermountain Rate Cases, 234 U. S. 476.
St. Louis, etc., R. Co. v. Taylor, 210 U. S. 281.
Missouri Pac. R. Co. v. Larabee, 211 U. S. 612.
I. C. C. v. Goodrich Trans. Co., 224 U. S. 194.
The Shreveport Case, 234 U. S. 342.

I. C. C. v. Louisville, etc., R. Co., 227 U. S. 88. As to power delegated to the President and the commission under the Federal control act, see

Northern Pac. R. Co. v. North Dakota, 250 U. S. 135. To the Federal Reserve Board

The provision of the act of Congress establishing the Federal Reserve Board giving to that board authority to grant to national banks the right to act as fiduciary is not invalid as conferring legislative power on the board.

First Nat. Bank v. Union Trust Co., 244 U. S. 416. To the Federal Power Commission

Federal Water Power Act held not unconstitutional as delegation of legislative powers. Congress can delegate right of eminent domain to a Federal agency.

Alabama Power Co. v. Gulf Power Co., 283 Fed. 606. In Connection With

Construction or removal of bridges.—The act of Congress authorizing the erection of a bridge is not invalid for providing “ That the Secretary of War is hereby authorized and directed, upon receiving said plan and map and other information, and upon being satisfied that a bridge built on such a plan and at said locality will conform to the prescribed conditions of this act, not to obstruct, impair, or injuriously modify the navigation of said river, to notify the said company that he approves the same; and upon receiving such notification the said company may proceed to the erection of said bridge, conforming strictly to the approved plan and location." Miller v. New York, 109 U. S. 393.

See also-
Monongahela Brdg. Co. v. U. S., 216 U. S. 177.
Union Brdg. Co. v. U. S., 204 U. S. 364.
Hannibal Brdg. Co. v. U. S., 221 U. S. 194.

Rider v. U. S., 178 U. S. 251. Tariff laws and regulations.—The act of October 1, 1890, section 3, authorizing the President to suspend "for such time as he shall deem just” the provisions of that act allowing the free importation of certain commodities as to any countries which impose upon the products of the United States duties which he

may deem to be reciprocally unequal and unjust,” can not be considered a delegation of legislative or treaty-making power,

especially in view of the fact that from the foundation of the * See also same subject, p. 92.

12703S. Doc. 157, 68-1--8

[ocr errors]

Sec. 1.—The Congress.
Government Congress has frequently invested the President with
similar discretion.
Field v. Clark, 143 U. S. 649.

See also
Buttfield v. Stranahan, 192 U. S. 470.
Cruikshank v. Bidwell, 86 Fed. 7.

Nicholas & Co. v. U. S., 249 U. S. 34.
The government of the Philippines.-Congress in dealing with
the Philippine Islands may delegate legislative authority to such
agencies as it may select.

U. S. v. Heinszen, 206 U. S. 370.

Dorr v. U. S., 195 U. S. 138.
The regulation of forest reserves.—Legislative power was not
unconstitutionally delegated to the Secretary of Agriculture by
act authorizing him to make rules and regulations covering for-
est reservations and making violations thereof a crime.
U. S. v. Grimaud, 220 U. S. 506.

See also
Light v. U. S., 220 U. S. 523.
Dastervignes v. U. S., 122 Fed. 30.
U. S. v. Rizzinelli, 182 Fed. 675.

Contra-U. S. v. Blasingame, 116 Fed. 654.
Location of mining claims.—Supplementary regulations con-
cerning the location of mining claims, prescribed by a State in
addition to the congressional regulations, are not invalid on the
theory that they were enacted in the exercise of an unlawful
delegation by Congress of legislative power.

Butte City Water Co. v. Baker, 196 U. S. 119. The bankruptcy act.—The recognition of the local law by the bankruptcy act in the matter of exemptions, dower, etc., does not render the act void as an attempt by Congress unlawfully to delegate its legislative power.

Hanover Nat. Bank v. Moyses, 186 U. S. 181. Sale of naval vessels.—Under act of March 3, 1883, providing for the sale of naval vessels, and stating that no vessel shall be sold in any other manner than therein provided or for less than the apprạised value, unless the President of the United States shall otherwise direct in writing, the power of the President to direct a departure from the statute is not confined to a sale for less than the appraised value, but extends to the manner of sale.

Levinson v. U. S., 258 U. S. 198. Deportation of aliens.—The alien act of May 10, 1920, establishes classes of persons who in the judgment of Congress are eligible for deportation and directs the Secretary of Labor to deport those whom he finds to be undesirable. Held not invalid as a delegation of legislative power since the discretion delegated is sufficiently defined by the policy of Congress and the common understanding as to what “undesirable residents” are.

Mahler v. Eby, 264 U. S. 32.

Tisi v. Tod, 264 U. S. 131. Encroachment by Executive and Judiciary on Legislative Power

One of the separate departments of the Government may not usurp powers committed by the Constitution to another depart

[ocr errors]

Sec. 1.-The Congress.

ment. The President has no constitutional power to repeal an
act of Congress.

Mugler v. Kansas, 123 U. S. 623.
Confiscation Cases, 20 Wall. 92.

See also
Sinking-Fund Cases, 99 U. S. 718.
Calder v. Bull, 3 Dall. 386.
Cooper v. Telfair, 4 Dall. 19.
McCracken v. Hayward, 2 How. 608.
Wisconsin v. Duluth, 96 U. S. 379.
Whitney v. Robertson, 124 U. S. 190.
Botiller v. Dominguez, 130 U. S. 238.
Chinese Exclusion Case, 130 U. S. 581.
Northern Securities Co. v. U. S., 193 U. S. 197.

[ocr errors]

Only for impelling reasons will courts inquire of executive department as to status of foreign government. Recognition of foreign government's sovereignty by political branch of the Government binds courts.

Russian Government v. Lehigh Valley R. Co., 293 Fed. 133. Encroachment on Judicial and Executive Power by Congress

In Stuart v. Laird, 1 Cranch, 308, it was said: Congress have constitutional authority to establish, from time to time, such inferior tribunals as they may think proper; and to transfer a cause from one such tribunal to another. In this last particular, there are no words in the Constitution to prohibit or restrain the exercise of legislative power.

See also-
Blake v. U. S., 103 U. S. 236.
Crenshaw v. U. S., 134 U. S. 99.
Shoemaker v. U. S., 147 U. S. 282.
Hayburn's case, 2 Dall. 409, note.
Kilbourn v. Thompson, 103 U, S. 168.

Gordon v. U. S., 117 U. S. 705.
Decision of administrative officer within conferred powers is
not subject to review by courts.

Silberschein v. U. S., 285 Fed. 397.

Power to Pass Retrospective Statutes

Many retrospective statutes have been passed by Congress, and whenever their power to do so has been questioned, it has been sustained.

U. S. v. Schooner Peggy, 1 Cranch 103.
Sampeyreac v. U. S., 7 Pet. 222.
Prize cases, 2 Black 671.
Union Pac. R. Co. v. Snow, 231 U. S. 204.
Johannessen v. U. S., 225 U. S. 227.

Of General Application

As of general application and interest in connection with this section, see

McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat. 412.
Dodge v. Woolsey, 18 How. 349.
Ex parte Clarke, 100 U. S. 421.
U. 8. v. Harris, 106 U. S. 629.
In re Neagle, 135 U. S. 1.
Muskrat v. U. S., 219 U. S. 846.

« PreviousContinue »