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UNITED STATES V. FOSTER, 233 U. S. 515 (1914)

U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Foster, 233 U.S. 515 (1914)

United States v. Foster

No. 838

Argued April 13, 14, 1914

Decided May 4, 1914

233 U.S. 515


Where the case is one of statutory construction, consideration of the statute becomes necessary, and if the validity of departmental regulations is involved, a construction of the statute authorizing the head of the department to make them is also necessary, and this Court has jurisdiction under the Criminal Appeals Act of 1907 to review the judgment sustaining a demurrer to the indictment.

The theory of the Act of March 3, 1883, is that every postmaster shall receive a salary dependent upon and regulated by the amount of business done at his office as represented by normal and natural -- not unlawfully induced -- sales of stamps.

Page 233 U. S. 516

Under § 161, Rev.Stat., authorizing heads of the Executive Departments to prescribe regulations not inconsistent with law, the Postmaster General has power to prescribe regulations requiring postmasters to make proper returns of sales of stamps at their respective offices, and such regulations have the force of law.

An indictment charging a postmaster and others with conspiring under § 37, Penal Code, to violate §§ 206 and 208, Penal Code, by the sale and purchase of stamps in large quantities to be used at other post offices so as to fraudulently increase his salary, and also charging violation of regulations of the Department in that respect, is sufficient.

The facts, which involve the jurisdiction of this Court under the Criminal Appeals Act of 1907 and the construction of statutes regulating the pay of postmasters and the power of the Postmaster General to make regulations in regard thereto, are stated in the opinion.

Page 233 U. S. 518

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