MR. CHIEF JUSTICE BURGER delivered the opinion of the Court.
These appeals present the question of whether Congress may, consistent with the Constitution, impose a limitation on
When Congress passed the Atomic Energy Act of 1946, it contemplated that the development of nuclear power would be a Government monopoly. See Act of Aug. 1, 1946, ch. 724, 60 Stat. 755. Within a decade, however, Congress concluded that the national interest would be best served if the Government encouraged the private sector to become involved in the development of atomic energy for peaceful purposes under a program of federal regulation and licensing. See H. R. Rep. No. 2181, 83d Cong., 2d Sess., 1-11 (1954). The Atomic Energy Act of 1954, Act of Aug. 30, 1954, ch. 1073, 68 Stat. 919, as amended, 42 U. S. C. §§ 2011-2281 (1970 ed. and Supp. V), implemented this policy decision, providing for licensing of private construction, ownership, and operation of commercial nuclear power reactors for energy production under strict supervision by the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC).
Private industry responded to the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 with the development of an experimental power plant constructed under the auspices of a consortium of interested companies. It soon became apparent that profits from the private exploitation of atomic energy were uncertain and the accompanying risks substantial. See Green, Nuclear Power:
Congress responded in 1957 by passing the Price-Anderson Act, 71 Stat, 576, 42 U. S. C. § 2210 (1970 ed. and Supp. V). The Act had the dual purpose of "protect[ing] the public and . . . encourag[ing] the development of the atomic energy industry." 42 U. S. C. § 2012 (i). In its original form, the Act limited the aggregate liability for a single nuclear incident
Since its enactment, the Act has been twice amended, the first occasion being on the eve of its expiration in 1966.
In 1975, Congress again extended the Act's coverage until 1987, and continued the $560 million limitation on liability. However a new provision was added requiring, in the event of a nuclear incident, each of the 60 or more reactor owners to contribute between $2 and $5 million toward the cost of compensating victims.
Under the Price-Anderson Act as it presently stands, liability in the event of a nuclear incident causing damages of $560 million or more would be spread as follows: $315 million would be paid from contributions by the licensees of the 63 private operating nuclear power plants; $140 million would come from private insurance (the maximum now available); the remainder of $105 million would be borne by the Federal Government.
Appellant in No. 77-262, Duke Power Co., is an investor-owned public utility which is constructing one nuclear power plant in North Carolina and one in South Carolina. Duke Power, along with the NRC, was sued by appellees, two organizations—Carolina Environmental Study Group and the Catawba Central Labor Union—and 40 individuals who live within close proximity to the planned facilities. The action was commenced in 1973, and sought, among other relief, a declaration that the Price-Anderson Act is unconstitutional.
After the parties had engaged in extensive discovery, the District Court held an evidentiary hearing on the questions of whether the issues were ripe for adjudication and whether
We noted probable jurisdiction
As a threshold matter, we must address the question of whether the District Court had subject-matter jurisdiction over appellees' claims, despite the fact that none of the parties raised this issue and the District Court did not consider it. See Liberty Mutual Ins. Co. v. Wetzel, 424 U.S. 737, 740 (1976). Appellees' complaint alleges jurisdiction under 28 U. S. C. § 1337 (1976 ed.), which provides for original jurisdiction in the district courts over "any civil action or proceeding arising under any Act of Congress regulating commerce or protecting trade and commerce against restraints and monopolies." Our reading of the pleadings,
Specifically, as we read the complaint, appellees are making two basic challenges to the Act—both of which find their moorings in the Fifth Amendment. First, appellees contend that the Due Process Clause protects them against arbitrary governmental action adversely affecting their property rights and that the Price-Anderson Act—which both creates the source of the underlying injury and limits the recovery therefor —constitutes such arbitrary action. And second, they are contending that in the event of a nuclear accident their property would be "taken" without any assurance of just compensation. The Price-Anderson Act is the instrument of the taking since on this record, without it, there would be no power plants and no possibility of an accident. Implicit in the complaint is also the assumption that there exists a cause of action directly under the Constitution to vindicate appellees' federal rights through a suit against the NRC, the executive agency charged with enforcement and administration of the allegedly unconstitutional statute.
For purposes of determining whether jurisdiction exists under § 1331 (a) to resolve appellees' claims, it is not necessary to decide whether appellees' alleged cause of action against the NRC based directly on the Constitution is in fact a cause of action "on which [appellees] could actually recover." Bell v. Hood, 327 U.S. 678, 682 (1946). Instead, the test is whether "`the cause of action alleged is so patently without merit as to justify . . . the court's dismissal for want of jurisdiction.'" Hagans v. Lavine, 415 U.S. 528, 542-543 (1974), quoting Bell v. Hood, supra, at 683. (Emphasis added.) See also Oneida Indian Nation v. County of Oneida, 414 U.S. 661, 666 (1974) (test is whether right claimed is "so insubstantial, implausible, foreclosed by prior decisions of this
The further question of whether appellees' cause of action under the Constitution is one generally to be recognized need not be decided here. The question does not directly implicate our jurisdiction, see Bell v. Hood, supra, was not raised in the court below, was not briefed, and was not addressed during oral argument. As we noted last Term in a similar context, questions of this sort should not be resolved on such an inadequate record; leaving them unresolved is no bar to full consideration of the merits. See Mt. Healthy City Bd. of Educ. v. Doyle, 429 U.S. 274, 278-279 (1977). It is enough for present purposes that the claimed cause of action to vindicate appellees'
The District Judge held four days of hearings on the questions of standing and ripeness; his factual findings form the basis for our analysis of these issues.
The essence of the standing inquiry is whether the parties seeking to invoke the court's jurisdiction have "alleged such a personal stake in the outcome of the controversy as to assure that concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues upon which the court so largely depends for illumination of difficult constitutional questions." Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186, 204 (1962). As refined by subsequent reformulation, this requirement of a "personal stake" has come to be understood to require not only a "distinct and palpable injury," to the plaintiff, Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490, 501 (1975), but also a "fairly traceable" causal connection between the claimed injury and the challenged conduct. Arlington Heights v. Metropolitan Housing Dev. Corp., 429 U.S. 252, 261 (1977). See also Simon v. Eastern Ky. Welfare Rights Org., 426 U.S. 26, 41-42 (1976); Linda R. S. v. Richard D., 410 U.S. 614, 617 (1973). Application of these constitutional standards to the factual findings of the District Court persuades us that the Art. III requisites for standing are satisfied by appellees.
We turn first to consider the kinds of injuries the District Court found the appellees suffered. It discerned two categories of effects which resulted from the operation of nuclear
For purposes of the present inquiry, we need not determine whether all the putative injuries identified by the District Court, particularly those based on the possibility of a nuclear accident and the present apprehension generated by this future uncertainty, are sufficiently concrete to satisfy constitutional requirements. Compare O'Shea v. Littleton, 414 U.S. 488 (1974), with United States v. SCRAP, 412 U.S. 669 (1973). See also Conservation Society of Southern Vermont v. AEC, Civ. Action No. 19-72 (DC Apr. 17, 1975). It is enough that several of the "immediate" adverse effects were found to harm appellees. Certainly the environmental and aesthetic consequences of the thermal pollution of the two lakes in the vicinity of the disputed power plants is the type
The more difficult step in the standing inquiry in establishing that these injuries "fairly can be traced to the challenged action of the defendant," Simon v. Eastern Ky. Welfare Rights Org., supra, at 41, or put otherwise, that the exercise of the Court's remedial powers would redress the claimed injuries. 426 U. S., at 43. The District Court discerned a "but for" casual connection between the Price-Anderson Act, which appellees challenged as unconstitutional, "and the construction of the nuclear plants which the [appellees] view as a threat to them." 431 F. Supp., at 219. Particularizing that causal link to the facts of the instant case, the District Court concluded that "there is a substantial likelihood that Duke would not be able to complete the construction and maintain the operation of the McGuire and Catawba Nuclear Plants
These findings, which, if accepted, would likely satisfy the second prong of the constitutional test for standing as elaborated in Simon,
The District Court's finding of a "substantial likelihood" that the McGuire and Catawba nuclear plants would be neither completed nor operated absent the Price-Anderson Act rested in major part on the testimony of corporate officials before the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy (JCAE) in 1956-1957 when the Price-Anderson Act was first considered and again in 1975 when a second renewal was discussed. During the 1956-1957 hearings, industry spokesmen for the utilities and the producers of the various component parts of the power plants expressed a categorical unwillingness to participate in the development of nuclear power absent guarantees of a limitation on their liability. 431 F. Supp., at 215. See also
Nor was the testimony at the hearing in this case, evaluation of which is the primary responsibility of the trial judge, at odds with the impression drawn from the legislative history. The testimony of Executive Vice President Lee of Duke Power
The second attack on the District Court's finding of a causal link warrants only brief attention. Essentially the argument is, as we understand it, that Price-Anderson is not a "but for" cause of the injuries appellees claim since, if Price-Anderson had not been passed, the Government would have undertaken development of nuclear power on its own and the same injuries would likely have accrued to appellees from such Government-operated plants as from privately operated ones. Whatever the ultimate accuracy of this speculation, it is not responsive to the simple proposition that private power companies now do in fact operate the nuclear-powered generating plants injuring
It is further contended that in addition to proof of injury and of a causal link between such injury and the challenged conduct, appellees must demonstrate a connection between the injuries they claim and the constitutional rights being asserted. This nexus requirement is said to find its origin in Flast v. Cohen, 392 U.S. 83 (1968), where the general question of taxpayer standing was considered:
See also United States v. Richardson, 418 U.S. 166, 174-175 (1974). Since the environmental and health injuries claimed by appellees are not directly related to the constitutional attack on the Price-Anderson Act, such injuries, the argument continues, cannot supply a predicate for standing.
The major difficulty with the argument is that it implicitly assumes that the nexus requirement formulated in the context of taxpayer suits has general applicability in suits of all other types brought in the federal courts. No cases have been cited
We continue to be of the same view and cannot accept the contention that, outside the context of taxpayers' suits, a litigant must demonstrate something more than injury in fact and a substantial likelihood that the judicial relief requested will prevent or redress the claimed injury to satisfy the "case or controversy" requirement of Art. III.
There are good and sufficient reasons for this prudential limitation on standing when rights of third parties are implicated—the avoidance of the adjudication of rights which those not before the Court may not wish to assert, and the assurance that the most effective advocate of the rights at issue is present to champion them. See Singleton v. Wulff, 428 U.S. 106, 113-114 (1976). We do not, however, find these reasons a satisfactory predicate for applying this limitation or a similar nexus requirement to all cases as a matter of course. Where a party champions his own rights, and where the injury alleged is a concrete and particularized one which will be
We conclude that appellees have standing to challenge the constitutionality of the Price-Anderson Act.
The question of the ripeness of the constitutional challenges raised by appellees need not long detain us. To the extent that "issues of ripeness involve, at least in part, the existence of a live `Case or Controversy,'" Regional Rail Reorganization Act Cases, 419 U. S., at 138, our conclusion that appellees will sustain immediate injury from the operation of the disputed power plants and that such injury would be redressed by the relief requested would appear to satisfy this requirement.
The prudential considerations embodied in the ripeness doctrine also argue strongly for a prompt resolution of the claims presented. Although it is true that no nuclear accident has yet occurred and that such an occurrence would eliminate much of the existing scientific uncertainty surrounding this
The District Court held that the Price-Anderson Act contravened the Due Process Clause because "[t]he amount of recovery is not rationally related to the potential losses"; because "[t]he Act tends to encourage irresponsibility in matters of safety and environmental protection . . . "; and finally because "[t]here is no quid pro quo" for the liability limitations. 431 F. Supp., at 222-223. An equal protection violation was also found because the Act "places the cost of [nuclear power] on an arbitrarily chosen segment of society, those injured by nuclear catastrophe." Id., at 225. Application of the relevant constitutional principles forces the conclusion that these holdings of the District Court cannot be sustained.
Our due process analysis properly begins with a discussion of the appropriate standard of review. Appellants, portraying the liability-limitation provision as a legislative balancing of economic interests, urge that the Price-Anderson Act be
As we read the Act and its legislative history, it is clear that Congress' purpose was to remove the economic impediments in order to stimulate the private development of electric energy by nuclear power while simultaneously providing the public compensation in the event of a catastrophic nuclear incident. See, e. g., S. Rep. No. 296, 85th Cong., 1st Sess., 15 (1957). The liability-limitation provision thus emerges as a classic example of an economic regulation—a legislative effort to structure and accommodate "the burdens and benefits of economic life." Usery v. Turner Elkhorn Mining Co., supra, at 15. "It is by now well established that [such] legislative Acts . . . come to the Court with a presumption of constitutionality, and that the burden is on one complaining of a due process violation to establish that the legislature has acted in an arbitrary and irrational way." Ibid. That the accommodation struck may have profound and far-reaching consequences, contrary to appellees' suggestion, provides all the
When examined in light of this standard of review, the Price-Anderson Act, in our view, passes constitutional muster. The record before us fully supports the need for the imposition of a statutory limit on liability to encourage private industry participation and hence bears a rational relationship to Congress' concern for stimulating the involvement of private enterprise in the production of electric energy through the use of atomic power; nor do we understand appellees or the District Court to be of a different view. Rather their challenge is to the alleged arbitrariness of the particular figure of $560 million, which is the statutory ceiling on liability. The District Court aptly summarized its position:
Assuming, arguendo, that the $560 million fund would not insure full recovery in all conceivable circumstances
See also S. Rep. No. 296, supra, at 21; H. R. Rep. No. 94-648, pp.12, 15 (1975).
Given our conclusion that, in general, limiting liability is an acceptable method for Congress to utilize in encouraging the private development of electric energy by atomic power, candor requires acknowledgment that whatever ceiling figure is selected will, of necessity, be arbitrary in the sense that any choice of a figure based on imponderables like those at issue here can always be so characterized. This is not, however, the kind of arbitrariness which flaws otherwise constitutional action. When appraised in terms of both the extremely remote possibility of an accident where liability would exceed the limitation
This District Court's further conclusion that the Price-Anderson Act "tends to encourage irresponsibility . . . on the part of builders and owners" of the nuclear power plants, 431 F. Supp., at 222, simply cannot withstand careful scrutiny. We recently outlined the multitude of detailed steps involved in the review of any application for a license to construct or to operate a nuclear power plant, Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Corp. v. NRDC, 435 U.S. 519, 526-527, and n. 5 (1978); nothing in the liability-limitation provision undermines or alters in any respect the rigor and integrity of that process. Moreover, in the event of a nuclear accident the utility itself would suffer perhaps the largest damages. While obviously not to be compared with the loss of human life and injury to health, the risk of financial loss and possible bankruptcy to the utility is in itself no small incentive to avoid the kind of irresponsible and cavalier conduct implicitly attributed to licensees by the District Court.
The remaining due process objection to the liability-limitation provision is that it fails to provide those injured by a
Appellees, like the District Court, differ with this appraisal on several grounds. They argue, inter alia, that recovery under the Act would not be greater than without it, that the waiver of defenses required by the Act, 42 U. S. C. § 2210 (n) (1970 ed., Supp. V), is an idle gesture since those involved in the development of nuclear energy would likely be held strictly liable under common-law principles;
We disagree. We view the congressional assurance of a $560 million fund for recovery, accompanied by an express statutory commitment, to "take whatever action is deemed necessary
Appellees' remaining objections can be briefly treated. The claim-administration procedures under the Act provide that in the event of an accident with potential liability exceeding the $560 million ceiling, no more than 15% of the limit can be distributed pending court approval of a plan of distribution taking into account the need to assure compensation for "possible latent injury claims which may not be discovered until a later time." 42 U. S. C. § 2210 (o) (3) (1970 ed., Supp. V). Although some delay might follow from compliance with this statutory procedure, we doubt that it would approach that resulting from routine litigation of the large number of claims caused by a catastrophic accident.
In the course of adjudicating a similar challenge to the
Although the District Court also found the Price-Anderson Act to contravene the "equal protection provision that is included within the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment," 431 F. Supp., at 224-225, appellees have not relied on this ground since the equal protection arguments largely track and duplicate those made in support of the due process claim. In any event, we conclude that there is no equal protection violation. The general rationality of the Price-Anderson Act liability limitations—particularly with reference to the important congressional purpose of encouraging private participation in the exploitation of nuclear energy—is ample justification for the difference in treatment between those injured in nuclear accidents and those whose injuries are derived from other
Accordingly, the decision of the District Court is reversed, and the cases are remanded for proceedings consistent with this opinion.
Reversed and remanded.
MR. JUSTICE STEWART, concurring in the result.
With some difficulty I can accept the proposition that federal subject-matter jurisdiction under 28 U. S. C. § 1331 (1976 ed.) exists here, at least with respect to the suit against the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the agency responsible for the administration of the Price-Anderson Act. The claim under federal law is to be found in the allegation that the Act, if enforced, will deprive the appellees of certain property rights, in violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment. One of those property rights, and perhaps the sole cognizable one, is a state-created right to recover full compensation for tort injuries. The Act impinges on that right by limiting recovery in major accidents.
On the issue of standing, the Court relies on the "present" injuries of increased water temperatures and low-level radiation emissions. Even assuming that but for the Act the plant would not exist and therefore neither would its effects on the environment, I cannot believe that it follows that the appellees have standing to attack the constitutionality of the Act. Apart from a "but for" connection in the loosest sense of that concept, there is no relationship at all between the injury alleged for standing purposes and the injury alleged for federal subject-matter jurisdiction.
Surely a plaintiff does not have standing simply because his challenge, if successful, will remove the injury relied on for standing purposes only because it will put the defendant out of existence. Surely there must be some direct relationship between the plaintiff's federal claim and the injury relied on for standing. Cf. Arlington Heights v. Metropolitan Housing Dev. Corp., 429 U.S. 252, 261; United States v. SCRAP, 412 U.S. 669, 687-690; Linda R. S. v. Richard D., 410 U.S. 614, 617-618. An interest in the local water temperature does not, in short, give these appellees standing to bring a suit under 28 U. S. C. § 1331 (1976 ed.) to challenge the constitutionality of a law limiting liability in an unrelated and as-yet-to-occur major nuclear accident.
For these reasons, I would remand these cases to the District Court with instructions to dismiss the complaint.
MR. JUSTICE REHNQUIST, with whom MR. JUSTICE STEVENS joins, concurring in the judgment.
I can understand the Court's willingness to reach the merits of this case and thereby remove the doubt which has been cast over this important federal statute. In so doing, however, it ignores established limitations on district court jurisdiction
Giving the conclusory allegations of appellees' complaint the most liberal possible reading, they purport to establish only two grounds for the declaratory relief requested. First, they contend that the Price-Anderson Act deprives them of their property without due process of law in that it irrationally limits the tort recovery otherwise available in the North Carolina courts.
It is apparent that appellees' first asserted basis for relief does not state a claim "arising under" the Price-Anderson Act. Their complaint alleges that the operation of the two power plants will cause immediate injury to property within their vicinity. App. 32, ¶ 21. The District Court explicitly found that these injuries "give rise to an immediate right of action for redress. Under the law of North Carolina a right of action arises as soon as a wrongful act has created `any injury, however
It has long been established that the mere anticipation of a possible federal defense to a state cause of action is not sufficient to invoke the federal-question jurisdiction of the district courts. In Louisville & Nashville R. Co. v. Mottley, 211 U.S. 149 (1908), the plaintiffs sought to compel the specific performance of a contract by which the railroad had granted them free passes for life. Although their contract was not predicated upon federal law, the plaintiffs contended that federal-question jurisdiction was established by the presence of an Act of Congress forbidding railroads to issue free passes. This Court held that the District Court did not have jurisdiction to consider whether the Act was inapplicable or unconstitutional:
Nor does the fact that appellees seek only declaratory relief under the Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U. S. C. § 2201 (1976 ed.), support a different result. This Court has held that the well-pleaded complaint rule applied in Mottley is fully applicable in cases seeking only declaratory relief, because the Declaratory Judgment Act merely expands the remedies available in the district courts without expanding their jurisdiction. "It would turn into the federal courts a vast current of litigation indubitably arising under State law, in the sense that the right to be vindicated was State-created, if a suit for a declaration of rights could be brought into the federal courts merely because an anticipated defense derived from federal law." Skelly Oil Co. v. Phillips Petroleum Co., 339 U.S. 667, 673 (1950). See also Phillips Petroleum Co. v. Texaco Inc., 415 U.S. 125 (1974); C. Wright, A. Miller, & E. Cooper, Federal Practice and Procedure § 3566, pp. 437-438 (1975).
Indeed, the Court does not even contend that there is an independent statutory source of jurisdiction over Duke. Ante, at 72 n. 16. It suggests instead that the complaint states a claim against the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, not as a joint tortfeasor under North Carolina law, but as the administrator of an unconstitutional federal statute. The Court's theory is that the complaint alleges the existence of an implied right of action under the Fifth Amendment to obtain relief against arbitrary federal statutes. It can hardly be said that this theory of the case emerges with crystal clarity from either the complaint or the brief of the appellees.
More importantly, there is no allegation in this complaint that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has taken or will take any unconstitutional action at all. The complaint alleges only that the Commission granted construction permits to
It simply cannot be said that these allegations make out an actual controversy against the Commission. While the Commission may be quite interested in the constitutionality of the statute, that is hardly sufficient to establish a justiciable controversy. Muskrat v. United States, 219 U.S. 346, 361-362 (1911). While appellees may have been damaged by Duke's decision to construct these plants, there is no "challenged action of the defendant" Commission to which their damage "fairly can be traced." Simon v. Eastern Ky. Welfare
As appellees themselves describe the second aspect of their complaint, "the central issue is whether in the circumstances of this case, the complete destruction of appellees' property by a nuclear accident, occurring at one of Duke's plants, would be a `taking' by the United States, as that term is defined in the Fifth Amendment." Brief for Appellees 62. This statement makes clear that appellees' claim arises not under the Price-Anderson Act but under the Fifth Amendment itself. Jurisdiction under § 1337 extends only to actions vindicating rights created by an Act of Congress. Compare Switchmen v. National Mediation Board, 320 U.S. 297, 300 (1943), with General Committee v. Missouri-Kansas-Texas R. Co., 320 U.S. 323, 337 (1943). Since it cannot be maintained that the Price-Anderson Act created appellees' asserted right to be free from takings for public use without just compensation, it follows that District Court jurisdiction may not be predicated upon § 1337.
The District Court does have jurisdiction to consider claims of taking under the Tucker Act, 28 U. S. C. § 1346 (a) (2) (1976 ed.), where the amount in controversy does not exceed $10,000.
There being no basis for District Court jurisdiction over either of appellees' claims, its judgment should be reversed and the cause remanded with instructions to dismiss the complaint for want of jurisdiction.
MR. JUSTICE STEVENS, concurring in the judgment.
The string of contingencies that supposedly holds this litigation together is too delicate for me. We are told that but for the Price-Anderson Act there would be no financing of nuclear power plants, no development of those plants by private parties, and hence no present injury to persons such as appellees; we are then asked to remedy an alleged due process violation
The Court's opinion will serve the national interest in removing doubts concerning the constitutionality of the Price-Anderson Act. I cannot, therefore, criticize the statesmanship of the Court's decision to provide the country with an advisory opinion on an important subject. Nevertheless, my view of the proper function of this Court, or of any other federal court, in the structure of our Government is more limited. We are not statesmen; we are judges. When it is necessary to resolve a constitutional issue in the adjudication of an actual case or controversy, it is our duty to do so. But whenever we are persuaded by reasons of expediency to engage in the business of giving legal advice, we chip away a part of the foundation of our independence and our strength.
I join MR. JUSTICE REHNQUIST'S opinion concurring in the judgment.
"19. Since the Price-Anderson Act provides victims of a nuclear disaster no benefit while at the same time limiting their right to recover for their losses to approximately 2 1/2% of such losses, the operation of the $500 million limitation would, in the event of a nuclear disaster, deprive the persons injured by such a disaster of property rights without due process of law in violation of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States." App. 32.
The Price-Anderson Act is, of course, a significant improvement on these prior relief efforts because it provides an advance guarantee of recovery up to $560 million plus an express commitment by Congress to take whatever further steps are necessary to aid the victims of a nuclear incident.
Despite the Court's assurances, it is conceivable that the practical effect of today's decision could be an erosion of the well-pleaded complaint doctrine. Had the plaintiffs in Mottley joined as defendants a federal agency having as ephemeral a relation to the statute challenged there as does the Commission to the statute involved here, the District Court, according to today's decision, would have had jurisdiction to consider the constitutionality of the statute, even though its judgment would not have been binding against the Louisville & Nashville Railroad. Innumerable federal statutes and regulations affect the daily decisions of private parties, who would undoubtedly appreciate the sort of advisory opinion rendered today on the validity of those provisions. This Court should not encourage the hope that such opinions may be obtained by suing an appropriate federal agency under a claim which verges on the frivolous.