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DOES THE ACT OF CONGRESS GRANT THIS POWER TO THE PRESIDENT?
Counsel for plaintiff contend that it does not, relying upon that part of section 10 of the act which reads: "Actions at law or suits in equity may be brought by or against such carriers and judgments rendered as now provided by law."
In the opinion of the court, all this quotation means is that any person having a cause of action shall not by reason of this act, or any regulation made thereunder, be deprived of the right to maintain it in a proper court if, under the State, Federal, or common law, he is entitled to a legal remedy. It does not mean, as claimed, that having a cause of action against the carrier he has the right to institute it in any forum in which he could have brought it before the passage of this act. To meet the exigencies existing during the war, Congress has granted to the President the power to say that one shall not maintain an action in a forum where the natural effect of selecting such forum will be, in the language of General Order No. 18, "That men operating trains engaged in hauling war materials, troops, munitions, or supplies, are required to leave their trains and attend court as witnesses, and travel sometimes for hundreds of miles from their work, necessitating absence from their trains for days and sometimes for a week or more; which practice is highly prejudicial to the just interests of the Government and seriously interferes with the physical operation of the railroads; and the practice of suing in remote jurisdictions is not necessary for the protection of the rights or the just interests of plaintiffs." That the exercise of the right to maintain actions in a forum distant from the place where the witnesses reside, will seriously interfere with the successful prosecution of the war can not be open to doubt. How are the soldiers drafted under the selective-draft act to be transported from the interior to the seaports, if the operation of trains is to be interfered with in this manner? How are munitions, clothing, food, coal, and other supplies necessary to carry on the war to be transported expeditiously if the employees, without whom trains can not be operated, are to be compelled to leave their employment to attend as witnesses at places, hundreds of miles away from where their duties require them to be, whenever a person has, or imagines he has, a cause of action against the carrier, and for his convenience, or in some instances, perhaps to prevent a proper defense, institutes the action in a court far distant from the district where the cause of action arose, and in a district other than that of the residence of the plaintiff at the time of the accrual of the cause of action? The fact that not only the plaintiff but his witnesses can more conveniently attend the court, if held at or near his home, or where the cause of action accrued, may well raise a doubt whether the selection of a foreign forum is always made in good
faith. The amendment of General Order No. 18 by General Order No. 18-A was evidently intended to prevent a change of residence for the purpose of enabling a suit to be brought at a distance from where the plaintiff resided at the time of the accrual of the cause of action, as is so frequently done to enable one to maintain an action in a national court, instead of in the courts of the State of which the plaintiff and defendant were both citizens at the time of the accrual of the cause of action.
But aside from this, statutes may not be construed by selecting some part thereof and disregarding other parts. For a proper construction of a statute the whole of it must be read together, to ascertain the legislative intent. In the language of Mr. Chief Justice White in Van Dyke v. Cordova Copper Co., 234, U. S. 188, 191, “We may not in order to give effect to those words virtually destroy the meaning of the entire context; that is, give them a significance which would be clearly repugnant to the statute, looked at as a whole and destructive of its obvious intent." The various provisions of an act should be read so that all may, if possible, have their due and conjoint effect without repugnancy or inconsistency. New Lapp Chimney Co. v. Ansonia Brass Co., 91 U. S. 656, 662; Aaron v. United States, 204 Fed. 943, 123, C. C. A. 265.
Applying this canon of construction to the act and giving effect to every part of it, as is our duty, it is apparent at once how untenable this contention is. That part of section 10 applicable to the matter in controversy reads: "Sec. 10. That carriers while under Federal control shall be subject to all laws and liabilities as common carriers, whether arising under State or Federal laws or at common law, except in so far as may be inconsistent with the provisions of this act or any other act applicable to such Federal control or with any order of the President." Another provision of the act is section "And the President, in addition to the powers conferred by this act, shall have and is hereby given such other and further powers necessary or appropriate to give effect to the powers herein and heretofore conferred."
There is nothing in the general orders under consideration which
⚫ deprives the plaintiff of her right to maintain an action against the defendant, but for reasons of public necessity, in a time of war, these regulations were made, because in the opinion of the President and Director General for good and sufficient reasons, they are necessary to prevent serious interference with the physical operation of railroads under the control of the Government and employed in the prosecution of the war. The act and regulations may well be sustained upon the ground that "Salus populi suprema lex est." "The welfare of the people is the paramount law."
The demurrer to the plea is overruled.
[Form A, October 22, 1918.-For companies without subsidiaries.] AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE DIRECTOR GENERAL OF RAILROADS AND THE COMPANY.
PREAMBLE AND RECITALS.
This Agreement, made this 1918, between William G. McAdoo, Director General of Railroads, hereinafter called the Director General, acting on behalf of the United States and the President, under the powers conferred by the proclamations of the President hereinafter referred to, and the
Company, a corporation duly organized under the laws of the State(s) of hereinafter called the Company :
(a) WHEREAS by a proclamation dated December 26, 1917, the President, acting under the powers conferred on him by the Constitution and laws of the United States, by the joint resolutions of the Senate and House of Representatives bearing date April 6 and December 7, 1917, respectively, and particularly under the powers conferred by section 1 of the act of Congress approved August 29, 1916, entitled “An act making appropriations for the support of the Army for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1917, and for other purposes, took possession and assumed control at 12 o'clock noon on December 28, 1917, of certain railroads and systems of transportation, including the railroad and transportation system of the Company and the appurtenances thereof, and directed that the possession, control, operation, and utilization of the transportation systems thus taken should be exercised by and through William G. McAdoo, appointed Director General of Railroads; and
(b) WHEREAS the Congress of the United States, by an act approved March 21, 1918, hereinafter called the Federal control act, has authorized the President to enter into agreements with the companies owning the railroads and systems thus taken over for the maintenance and upkeep of the same during the period of Federal control, for the determination of the rights and obligations of the parties to the agreement arising from or out of Federal control, including the compensation to be received or guaranteed, and for other purposes, as in said act more fully set out, and authorize the Pres
ident to exercise any of the powers by said act or theretofore granted him with relation to Federal control through such agencies as he might determine; and
(c) WHEREAS by a proclamation dated March 29, 1918, the President, acting under the Federal control act and all other powers him thereto enabling, authorized the Director General, either personally or through such divisions, agencies, or persons as he may appoint, and in his own name or in the name of such divisions, agencies, or persons, or in the name of the President, to agree with the carriers, or any of them, or with any other person in interest, upon the amount of compensation to be paid pursuant to law, and to sign, seal, and deliver in his own name or in the name of the President or in the name of the United States such agreements as may be necessary and expedient with the several carriers or other persons in interest respecting com pensation, or any other matter concerning which it may be necessary or expedient to deal, and to make any and all contracts, agreements, or obligations necessary or expedient and to issue any and all orders which may in any way be found necessary and expedient in connection with the Federal control of systems of transportation, railroads, and inland waterways as fully in all respects as the President is authorized to do, and generally to do and perform all and singular the acts and things and to exercise all and singular the powers and duties which in and by the said act, or any other act in relation to the subject thereof, the President is authorized to do and perform; and
(d) WHEREAS the Interstate Commerce Commission has certified to the President that the amount of the average annual railway operating income of the Company, computed in the manner provided in section 1 of the Federal control act, is
dollars and cents ($- ---), subject to such changes and corrections as the Commission may hereafter determine and certify to be requisite in order that the accounts and reports of the Company used by the Commission as the basis of computing said average annual railway operating income may be brought into conformity with the accounting rules or regulations of the Commission in force at the time of such accounting, or in order to correct computations based on such accounts or reports.
Now, Therefore, the parties hereto, each in consideration of the agreements of the other herein contained, do hereby covenant and agree to and with each other as follows:
SECTION 1.-PRIVITY, ALTERATIONS, DEFINITIONS, ETC.
SEC. 1. (a) This agreement shall be binding upon the United States, the Director General and his successors, and upon the Company, its successors, and assigns.
This agreement shall not be construed as creating any right, claim, privilege, or benefit against either party hereto in favor of any State or any subdivision thereof, or of any individual or corporation other than the parties hereto.
(b) The provisions of this agreement may be altered, amended, or added to by and only by mutual consent signified by instruments in writing signed by the Director General and by some officer of the Company thereto duly authorized by the Board of Directors of the Company.
(c) Wherever in this agreement the word "Commissioner " is used it shall be understood as meaning the Interstate Commerce Commission, acting by divisions or otherwise as authorized by law; but either party shall have the right to have the decision of any division reviewed by the Commission sitting as a whole.
(d) Wherever in this agreement the words "Federal control" are used to indicate a period of time, they shall be understood as meaning the period from 12 o'clock midnight of December 31, 1917, to and including the day and hour on which said control shall cease.
(e) Wherever in this agreement the words "test period" are used, they shall be understood as meaning the period between July 1, 1914, and June 30, 1917, both inclusive.
(f) Wherever in this agreement the words "standard return” are used, they shall be understood as meaning the average annual railway operating income of the Company, computed in the manner provided in section 1 of the Federal control act, and ascertained and certified by the Commission.
(g) Wherever in this agreement the words "Director General" are used, they shall be understood as designating William G. McAdoo, or such other person as the President may from time to time appoint to exercise the powers conferred on him by law with relation to Federal control, or such agents or agencies as the Director General may from time to time appoint for the purpose; and wherever by this agreement any notice is to be given by the Director General, the same may be given in his name by any subordinate thereto duly authorized.
(h) Wherever the property of the company is referred to in this agreement it shall be understood as including all the property described in paragraph (a) of section 2 hereof, whether owned by or leased to the Company, and, where the context permits, all additions or betterments thereto or extensions thereof made during Federal control; and as to all such leased property the Company shall have the benefit of and be subject to all the obligations and provisions of this agreement and shall be subject to all duties imposed by law in respect of such leased property.