The Commission also said that a "zone adjacent to and commercially a part of" New York City for the purposes of port operations in trans-Atlantic, coastal and intercoastal commerce by water, may be very different from a zone for motor carrier operations intended by Congress to be subjected to Federal regulation. The Commission then states as the ratio decidendi of its decision that it is persuaded that "* * * the purpose of exemption in section 203 (b) (8) was to remove from Federal regulation operations which, although in interstate or foreign commerce, were nevertheless of a local or urban type which we termed 'intraterminal' (in the first report) as distinguished from intercity of intercommunity operations." By its first report the Commission designated the type last referred to as "interterminal" transportation. The Commission states that such an interpretation may be based upon the language of clause 8 as transportation of passengers or property in interstate or foreign commerce "wholly within a municipality or between contiguous municipalities or within a zone adjacent to and commercially a part of any such municipality or municipalities", stating in effect that the framers of the Act had clearly in mind to afford the partial exemption of the statute to urban transportation, viz., intraterminal transportation as distinguished from interterminal transportation. The plaintiffs contend that such an interpretation is at variance with the words employed in Section 202 and Section 203 (b) (8) and that therefore the Commission has applied a test to the statute not justified by the words employed by Congress. Therefore, say the plaintiffs, the Commission cannot sustain the necessary and ultimate quasi-jurisdictional finding upon which its order is based.
The purpose of the Motor Carrier Act, as we have stated, is the regulation of interstate and foreign motor carrier transportation. Section 203 (b) (8) merely sets forth the basis for partial exemption. The Commission has found in effect that the regulation of interstate and foreign motor carrier transportation in the interests of commerce requires the removal of the partial exemption between contiguous and adjacent municipalities or zones. Such a finding, if not made in express terms by the Commission, must none the less be deemed to be implicit in what it has stated; indeed we think it is expressed in the ultimate finding which we have quoted. The Commission need not do more. See United States v. Baltimore & Ohio R. Co., 293 U.S. 454, 464, 465, 55 S. Ct. 268, 79 L. Ed. 587, and the cases therein cited. While Congress created areas or zones of partial exemption by the provisions of Section 203 (b) (8), it is obvious that Congress did not intend them to be continued in existence if transportation by motor vehicle through and to them, though between contiguous or adjacent municipalities or zones, was not in the nature of intraterminal or urban cartage between localities commercially integrated and would work damage to interstate or foreign commerce. The power to remove the partial exemption was vested by Congress in the Commission as a remedy for such damage. The Commission therefore makes a distinction, and we think that it is a logical one, between purely local or urban cartage, which it designates as "intraterminal" in character and cartage of a kind not urban or local and not between municipalities or zones commercially a part of one another, viz., "interterminal" transportation. We think that this construction of the statute is correct and is one justified by the established rules of statutory construction. Moreover, the Commission goes further and specifically applies its ruling to particular municipalities.
For example, the Commission states that it does not deem transportation by motor vehicle between New York and contiguous municipalities, on the one hand, and points in New Jersey, west of the Hackensack River, Newark Bay and Staten Island Sound, on the other hand, to be intraterminal in character. It finds further that in New York State the commercial zone does not extend north or east of the municipalities contiguous to New York City. Looking to the west it has limited the commercial zone in the manner we have indicated heretofore.
It must be borne in mind that there is a distinction in law between quasi-jurisdictional findings which are indispensable and a complete statement of the grounds upon which the Commission reaches its determination. See United States v. Baltimore & Ohio R. Co., supra. The Commission might well have amplified the grounds upon which it based its conclusions. Indeed it endeavored to do so by its second report. None the less in our opinion the Commission made the indispensable quasi-jurisdictional finding which we have quoted above. That finding is sufficient in form and substance and the contentions of the plaintiffs to the contrary are not well founded. See United States v. Louisiana, 290 U.S. 70, 80-82, 54 S. Ct. 28, 78 L. Ed. 181; Georgia Public Service Comm. v. United States, 283 U.S. 765, 773, 51 S. Ct. 619, 75 L. Ed. 1397; Alabama v. United States, 283 U.S. 776, 779, 51 S. Ct. 623, 75 L. Ed. 1406; Ohio v. United States, 292 U.S. 498, 511, 54 S. Ct. 792, 78 L. Ed. 1388; Florida v. United States, 292 U.S. 1, 8-11, 54 S. Ct. 603, 78 L. Ed. 1077; United States v. American Sheet & Tin Plate Co., 301 U.S. 402, 406, 407, 409, 57 S. Ct. 804, 81 L. Ed. 1186.
Are the Findings of the Commission Supported by the Evidence?
The plaintiffs take the position that there is no scintilla of evidence which supports the ruling of the Commission removing the statutory exemption from the municipalities of Elizabeth, Newark, Linden, Carteret or Perth Amboy. This contention cannot be sustained. The hearings before the examiner consumed four days and the evidence then received demonstrated a confusion upon the part of those interested as to what was or should be deemed to be the area of statutory exemption in the New York City commercial zone. Various zones were contended for by various proponents. It was the duty of the Commissioner to define the zone. Lacking such definition conditions of transportation by motor vehicle, already confused, would become chaotic.
The record before the Commission sufficiently demonstrates the fact that a comparatively small amount of cartage by motor vehicle takes place between Perth Amboy, Carteret, Linden and Elizabeth upon one hand and Richmond or Staten Island upon the other and that much the greater bulk of such transportation proceeded to the four municipalities first named via the City of Newark. We also think that the evidence before the Commission sustains the conclusion that Newark is a municipality distinctly separated commercially from New York City, possessing its own manufacturing centers, shipping facilities and suburbs. It was therefore proper for the Commission to exclude this municipality from the area of partial exemption. The Commission was forced to consider the situation as a whole and in the light of all the evidence. The oral testimony and the twenty-six documentary exhibits introduced in evidence furnish adequate support for the conclusions and the order of the Commission. What we have said in respect to the exclusion of the municipalities named is true also of those areas included in the Port of New York Authority and now excluded from partial exemption by order of the Commission as appears from the map attached as an appendix. This court, however, upon the pleadings is concerned solely with the removal of the partial exemption upon motor vehicle transportation between points in the City of New York upon the one hand and Elizabeth, Linden, Carteret and Perth Amboy upon the other and the definition of the area of partial exemption by the Commission in such wise that the City of Newark is excluded therefrom.
It is not within the province of this court to consider the weight of evidence nor the wisdom of the order entered by the Commission. Our duty is limited to ascertaining whether or not the order made was made in accordance with due form of law and upon adequate evidence. See Virginian Ry. Co. v. United States, 272 U.S. 658, 663, 47 S. Ct. 222, 71 L. Ed. 463; New England Divisions Case, 261 U.S. 184, 204, 43 S. Ct. 270, 67 L. Ed. 605. As was stated by the Supreme Court in Interstate Commerce Comm. v. Louisville & Nashville R. Co., 227 U.S. 88, 100, 33 S. Ct. 185, 190, 57 L. Ed. 431, the order of the Commission is not arbitrary but is "* * * sustained by substantial, though conflicting, evidence. The courts cannot settle the conflict, nor put their judgments against that of the rate-making body * * *".
As to the Testimony Offered by the Plaintiffs at the Hearing before This Court.
Certain testimony was offered on behalf of the plaintiffs to endeavor to show that their operations were exempt by reason of the express provisions of Section 203 (b) (8) of the Motor Carrier Act. We admitted such testimony subject to a motion to strike made by the defendants at the trial and it was stated by us that if the court determined that this evidence was not pertinent to the issues presented, it would be stricken from the record. Upon this issue the plaintiffs contend that the question of what transportation shall be deemed to be within the exemption conferred by Section 203 (b) (8), unaffected by an order of the Commission, is a mixed question of fact and law for decision only by the courts, citing in support of their position United States v. Idaho, 298 U.S. 105, 109, 56 S. Ct. 690, 80 L. Ed. 1070; Piedmont & Northern R. Co. v. Interstate Commerce Commission, 286 U.S. 299, 52 S. Ct. 541, 76 L. Ed. 1115, and other similar decisions. The position so taken by the plaintiffs may be sustained only by the conclusion that clause 8 confers a statutory exemption absolute which cannot be altered or abridged by the Commission in respect to transportation "wholly within a municipality or between contiguous municipalities." We have dealt heretofore with this contention and have rejected it. If it were accepted, the result would be that transportation by motor vehicle between the respective contiguous municipalities of Elizabeth, Linden, Carteret, Perth Amboy and Richmond or Staten Island could not be subjected by order of the Commission to the regulatory provisions of the Act. But such a conclusion, as we have stated heretofore, cannot be sustained upon the language of Section 203 (b) (8). It follows therefore that the evidence offered by the plaintiffs as to the nature of their operations between Elizabeth, Linden, Carteret and Perth Amboy on the one hand, and Staten Island or Richmond upon the other, contiguous communities, cannot be received in the case at bar. We may not receive evidence to the end that we ourselves may determine the area of statutory exemption within the meaning of Section 203 (b) (8). Such a determination is within the province of the Commission. The judicial review which is afford by the proceeding at bar is the testing of the validity of the order of the Commission upon the evidence which was before the Commission at the time of its hearings. If the rule were otherwise, as stated by the Supreme Court in United States v. Louisville & Nashville R. Co., 235 U.S. 314, 321, 35 S. Ct. 113, 114, 59 L. Ed. 245 "* * * the Commission would become but a mere instrument for the purpose of taking testimony to be submitted to the courts for their ultimate action." As we have indicated, the partial exemption conferred by Section 203 (b) (8) is not absolute, but like the prohibition under Section 4 of the Interstate Commerce Act, construed by the Supreme Court in the Intermountain Rate Cases, supra, the ultimate administrative determination of the application of the section must be left to the Commission. The evidence referred to offered this court by the plaintiffs as in a proceeding de novo can have no other purpose than to compel a determination by the court of a matter administrative in character and therefore beyond our province.
In Tagg Bros. & Moorhead v. United States, 280 U.S. 420, 50 S. Ct. 220, 74 L. Ed. 524, a suit was brought under Section 316 of the Act of August 15, 1921, c. 64, §§ 301-316, 42 Stat. 159, the Packers and Stockyards Act, 7 U.S.C.A. § 201 et seq., to enjoin an order made by the Secretary of Agriculture purporting to prescribe reasonable rates and charges for certain marketing agencies. By Section 316 of the Packers and Stockyards Act the provisions of the Urgent Deficiencies Act, as in the case at bar, authorize proceedings brought by parties in interest to restrain and annual orders of the Secretary of Agriculture. The Supreme Court, holding that certain evidence introduced before the statutory court (see D.C., 29 F.2d 750) was improperly admitted, stated 280 U.S. at page 443, 50 S. Ct. at page 226, 74 L. Ed. 524, of its opinion: "A proceeding under section 316 of the Packers and Stockyards Act is a judicial review, not a trial de novo. The validity of an order of the Secretary, like that of an order of the Interstate Commerce Commission, must be determined upon the record of the proceedings before him -- save as there may be an exception of issues presenting claims of constitutional right * * *". The decision of the Supreme Court in the Tagg Bros. & Moorhead case is apt to the circumstances of the case at bar and, we think, requires the exclusion of the evidence subject to the motion to strike. We might add that in the case at bar the only constitutional question involved is whether the Motor Carrier Act itself by the provisions of Section 203 (b) (8) delegates a lawmaking power to the Commission. This question has been resolved by a consideration of the statute itself and evidence may not be received by us upon such an issue.
The fourth prayer of the plaintiffs' petition seeks to have this court render a declaratory decree defining the status of the plaintiffs' operations between Newark and the City of New York. This is a prayer for a declaratory judgment pursuant to the provisions of the Act of March 3, 1911, c. 231, Section 274d, as added June 14, 1934, c. 512, 48 Stat. 955, as amended Aug. 30, 1935, c. 829, § 405, 49 Stat. 1027, 28 U.S.C.A. § 400. We state that that Act has no application to the circumstances of the case ar bar and theefore cannot serve to enlarge the issues upon which evidence may be offered by the plaintiffs. We understand, however, that the plaintiffs do not now press for the granting of such relief.
Accordingly, the motion of the defendants to strike certain evidence offered by the plaintiffs is granted.
In view of all of the foregoing the petition must be dismissed.
We file herewith findings of fact and conclusions of law.
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