The Renegotiation Act
The District Court properly held that this case should be dismissed on the authority of Myers v. Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp., 303 U.S. 41. In that case the employer sought to enjoin officials of the National Labor Relations Board from holding hearings on the ground that the business was not covered by the National Labor Relations Act. This Court held that the injunction could not be issued. It pointed out that the exclusive "power `to prevent any person from engaging in any unfair practice affecting commerce' . . . [had] been vested by Congress in the Board," 303 U.S. at 48, and concluded that to grant the injunction would violate the "long settled rule of judicial administration that no one is entitled to judicial relief for a supposed or threatened injury until the prescribed administrative remedy has been exhausted." Under this
Just as in the Myers case, the claim here is that the contracts are not covered by the applicable statute. And the applicable statute, the Renegotiation Act, like the National Labor Relations Act in the Myers case, empowers administrative bodies to rule on the question of coverage. The Renegotiation Act authorizes the Chairman of the Maritime Commission to conduct investigations in the first instance to determine whether excessive profits had been made on contracts with the Commission. A contractor aggrieved by the Chairman's determination of excessive profits may have them redetermined in a "de novo" proceeding before the Tax Court. Section 403 (e) (1) of the Act provides that the Tax Court "shall have exclusive jurisdiction, by order, to finally determine the amount, if any, of such excessive profits . . ." Contrary to respondent's contention that this language limits the Tax Court's jurisdiction so as not to include the power to decide questions of coverage, we think the language shows that the Tax Court has such power. For a decision as to what are and are not negotiable contracts is an essential part in determining the amount of a contractor's excessive profits. The legislative history of the Renegotiation Act, moreover, shows that Congress intended the Tax Court to have exclusive jurisdiction to decide questions of fact and law,
Respondent urges several grounds for not applying the rule of the Myers case here. It points out that wilful failure to comply with the Adjustment Board's request for information would subject it to penalties under the Act; that the Chairman of the Commission and the Tax Court can enforce their orders without court enforcement proceedings; that the Act specifically provides that the Tax Court's determination is not subject to court review; and that, even if respondent could, subsequent to a Tax Court determination, have resort to the courts, it would be subjected to a multiplicity of suits in order to recover the money due on the contracts. Even if one or all of these things might possibly occur in the future, that possibility does not affect the application of the rule requiring exhaustion of administrative remedies. The District Court had no power to determine in this proceeding and at this time issues that might arise because of these future contingencies. Its judgment dismissing the complaint was correct. The judgment of the Circuit Court of Appeals is
MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS concurs in the result.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.
"On April 30, 1941 the President wrote the Chairman of the Maritime Commission and directed him `as part of the defense effort to which this country is committed' to secure the service of at least 2,000,000 tons of merchant shipping. Pursuant to this direction, the Commission negotiated with the vessel owners. The vessels were made available, a charter party was signed with the British Ministry of War Transport for technical reasons but the commission agreed to pay the vessel owner the agreed compensation for the use of the vessel. This arrangement was evidenced by correspondence between the Commission and the vessel owner.
"There appears to have been mutuality of understanding among all the parties interested, legality of consideration and definit'ness [sic] as to terms, time of performance and acceptance. Payment was made in due course as agreed and this payment constitutes a part of the cost of the war to the people of the United States."