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FPC V. METROPOLITAN EDISON CO., 304 U. S. 375 (1938)

U.S. Supreme Court

FPC v. Metropolitan Edison Co., 304 U.S. 375 (1938)

Federal Power Commission v. Metropolitan Edison Co.

No. 915

Argued May 2, 1938

Decided May 23, 1938

304 U.S. 375


1. An order of the Federal Power Commission is not reviewable in the Circuit Court of Appeals under § 313 of the Federal Power Act, as amended, unless there has been an application to the Commission for a rehearing. Review does not extend to an order granting a rehearing. P. 304 U. S. 381.

2. Section 313(a)(b) of the Federal Power Act does not empower the Circuit Court of Appeals to review orders of the Power Commission which are preliminary or procedural, but relates to orders of a definitive character dealing with the merits of a proceeding before the Commission and resulting from a hearing upon evidence and supported by findings appropriate to the case. P. 304 U. S. 383.

3. Where the only orders made by the Federal Power Commission were, first, an order fixing a hearing and requiring the respondent corporations to appear and produce certain information and documents, and second, an order purporting to grant a rehearing of the first, the Circuit Court of Appeals had no appellate jurisdiction to restrain proceedings under the original order until the questions raised by the petition for rehearing were determined or to define the scope of the rehearing and of evidence to be there considered. Pp. 304 U. S. 385, 304 U. S. 387.

4. Judicial Code § 262, which provides that the federal courts shall have power

"to issue all writs not specifically provided for by statute, which may be necessary for the exercise of their respective

Page 304 U. S. 376

jurisdictions, and agreeable to the usages and principles of law,"

held inapplicable. Pp. 304 U. S. 383, 304 U. S. 387.

5. The Federal Power Act confers no authority upon the Commission to enforce its directions to appear, testify, or produce books and papers save by application to a federal court under § 307(c), and punishment for contempt is confined to failure to obey the order of the court. P. 304 U. S. 386.

6. Upon such application by the Commission, respondents have full opportunity to contest the validity of the order sought to be enforced. Id.

7. One who refuses to attend and testify, or produce books and papers, in obedience to a subpoena of the Commission is not punishable under § 307(c) of the Act if the refusal is not willful, but made in good faith and upon grounds which entitle him to the judgment of the court before obedience is compelled. P. 304 U. S. 387.

94 F.2d 943, 945, reversed.

Certiorari, post, p. 553, to review a judgment of the Circuit Court of Appeals restraining the Federal Power Commission from proceeding with an inquiry and investigation until questions raised by a petition for rehearing had been determined by it.

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