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MORGAN V. UNITED STATES, 298 U. S. 468 (1936)

U.S. Supreme Court

Morgan v. United States, 298 U.S. 468 (1936)

Morgan v. United States

No. 686

Argued April 29, 30, 1936

Decided May 25, 1936

298 U.S. 468


1. Under § 310 of the Packers & Stockyards Act, a hearing is prerequisite to a valid order of the Secretary of Agriculture fixing rates for Market Agencies. P. 298 U. S. 473.

2. Upon review under the Packers & Stockyards Act of an order of the Secretary of Agriculture fixing rates of such agencies, all questions touching the regularity and validity of the proceedings before the Secretary are open. P. 298 U. S. 477.

3. The Secretary's recitals of his procedure in such cases are not conclusive on the question whether the statutory requirements were obeyed. Id.

4. If, upon the facts alleged before the court on review of the Secretary's order, the full hearing required by the Act was not given, the plaintiffs are entitled by the terms of the Act itself to prove the facts and have the order set aside. Id.

5. It is not essential to the validity of a rate order made by the Secretary of Agriculture under the Packers & Stockyards Act that each of several respondents be given a separate hearing, or that a preliminary report be made by the examiner who took the testimony and be submitted to the parties in order that they may take their exceptions and address their arguments to the points thus raised. P. 298 U. S. 478.

6. The function of the Secretary of Agriculture in fixing rates under the Packers & Stockyards Act is not that of ordinary executive action, but is both legislative and judicial in quality; fundamental procedural requirements must be obeyed; a full hearing of both evidence and argument must be given; nothing can be treated as evidence which is not introduced as such; facts and circumstances which ought to be considered must not be excluded, and those that should not legally influence the conclusion must not be considered; findings based on the evidence must embrace the basic facts needed to sustain the order. P. 298 U. S. 479.

7. An order of the Secretary of Agriculture fixing rates for Market Agencies under the Packers & Stockyards Act is invalid if the evidence and arguments were heard and considered by an assistant to the Secretary, but not by the Secretary himself . P. 298 U. S. 481.

Page 298 U. S. 469

8. If the duty of ascertaining and fixing just and reasonable rates for Market Agencies, imposed by the Packers & Stockyards Act on the Secretary of Agriculture, may lawfully be delegated by him in a particular case to an assistant -- a question not here presented or determined -- it would be for the assistant to make the order, as well as to conduct the hearing. Pp. 298 U. S. 478, 298 U. S. 481.

8 F.Supp. 766 reversed.

Appeals from decrees of the District Court of three judges dismissing fifty bills brought by Market Agencies, under the Packers & Stockyards Act, to enjoin the enforcement of an order of the Secretary of Agriculture fixing maximum rates to be charged by them for buying and selling livestock. The cases were consolidated in the court below for trial.

Page 298 U. S. 471

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