These cases are a sequel to our decision in City of Chicago v. United States, 396 U.S. 162, last Term. The Chicago & Eastern Illinois Railroad (C&EI) filed a notice under § 13a (1) of the Interstate Commerce Act, 72 Stat. 571, 49 U. S. C. § 13a (1), proposing to discontinue a pair of trains known as the "Georgian," operated by it between Chicago, Illinois, and Evansville, Indiana, and operated in conjunction with trains of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad (L&N) between Evansville, Indiana, and Atlanta, Georgia, crossing Kentucky and Tennessee en route. Part of this litigation grows out of the ICC's approval of the C&EI's discontinuance of the Chicago-Evansville segment of the "Georgian," evidenced by its termination of its investigation.
The L&N also operates the "Hummingbird" between Cincinnati, Ohio, and New Orleans, Louisiana. The
In City of Chicago v. United States, supra, we held that ICC decisions to discontinue such an investigation were reviewable and remanded the cases back to the District Court. That court then ordered consolidation and remanded back to the ICC for further hearings, holding that the notice served by the C&EI on the Governors of Illinois and Indiana and at every station along the Chicago-Evansville run was inadequate because the people of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Georgia, and the Governors of those States were not notified. The "Hummingbird" discontinuance was also remanded to the ICC because of its close relationship with the "Georgian." These appeals followed.
We note jurisdiction and reverse. Section 13a (1) provides:
This section, as we read it, required C&EI to give notice in Illinois and Indiana, the only States in
The dissent finds ambiguity in the phrase "such train" in § 13a (1). It is argued that two interpretations of "such train" are possible: either the train of the C&EI between Chicago and Evansville or the "Georgian" between Chicago and Atlanta. By allowing discontinuance under § 13a (1), however, the ICC must have interpreted "such train" to refer to a train operated by one railroad only; and it was only the Chicago-Evansville discontinuance that was before it at the time. The Commission ruled that: "Copies of the notices were duly served and posted in the manner required by section 13a (1) and our rules and regulations thereunder."
It is true that the C&EI and the L&N functioned in close harmony. Discontinuance of service on one line might have a substantial effect on the other. But this relationship is not unique in railroading. Congress is not unaware of the mutual interdependence of railroads. It designed a federal regulatory system that displaced a state regulatory system when the state system could defeat a carrier's attempt to discontinue a train. Hence we think it distorts § 13a (1) to treat it so as to require
Accordingly, the decisions in Nos. 386 and 410 are reversed. Since Nos. 387 and 396 were remanded to the Commission solely because of their relation to Nos. 386 and 410, those decisions are also reversed. The causes are remanded to the District Court for review of any questions on the merits which may remain unresolved.
It is so ordered.
MR. JUSTICE HARLAN, with whom MR. JUSTICE BLACK joins, dissenting.
I think these cases do not lend themselves to summary disposition.
The Chicago & Eastern Illinois Railroad Co. and the Louisville & Nashville Railroad Co. jointly operated
Appellants in Nos. 386 and 410 argue that since § 13a (1) accords carriers a right to commence discontinuance proceedings before the ICC if their rights with respect to the operation of train service are subject to any state regulatory authority, the scope of the notice requirement should be limited by the reach of the state regulatory power giving rise, in the first instance, to the carrier's right to go before the ICC. Appellees in
In view of the structural and linguistic ambiguity of the statutory provision, the Court's reliance on the absence of an explicit reference to carrier arrangements of this sort would carry weight only if the legislative policy underlying § 13a (1) of the Act solidly supported the result reached today. Lacking that, the description of congressional policy in n. 3 of the Court's opinion, ante, at 11, hardly warrants the Court's inference in the text of its opinion that the statutory purpose underpinning § 13a (1) is served by a limitation of the notice requirements according to the reach of the State's regulatory power over the carrier filing with the ICC.
Apparently, the Court recognizes the inherent ambiguity of the statute. Thus, its opinion finally comes to rest on the principle of deference to the administrative agency's construction of the statute. Suffice it to say that I am not persuaded by the deference argument as applied to the agency's pro forma finding of adequate notice in this very litigation where the notice issue evidently was not before the agency at the time of its ruling. See 331 I. C. C. 447, 448.
The above considerations are not meant to reflect any conclusions concerning the merits of the statutory construction issue presented in these cases. To the contrary, my point is simply that, without briefs and oral argument by the parties on the merits of the question, I would refrain from choosing between the conflicting constructions of § 13a (1) pressed upon the Court by the parties. Therefore, I would note probable jurisdiction in Nos. 386 and 410. I would withhold action in No. 387 pending dispositions in Nos. 386 and 410. In No. 396, I would note probable jurisdiction, limited to the questions concerning the District Court's action in reinstating the restraining order of September 6, 1968.
The problem of discontinuance of services as put to the Congress by the Association of American Railroads was described as follows:
"[S]uch matters are subject to approval of State regulatory commissions and authority for such discontinuances or abandonments must be obtained within the scope of statutes or procedures under which those State commissions operate." Problems of the Railroads, Hearings before the Subcommittee on Surface Transportation of the Senate Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, 85th Cong., 2d Sess., pt. 1, p. 25 (Jan. 13, 1958).
The legislation was responsive to that need and may not be easily construed to do more than track the jurisdiction of a State over the carrier in question.