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other respects it was giving any authority which the Interstate Commerce Commission did not possess.

The precise question here to be decided is whether the statute confers upon the commission the right to inspect and copy the papers of any private corporation engaged in interstate or foreign commerce whenever, in the judgment of the commission, such inspection may furnish information of value to an inquiry it is making as to some economic or commercial problem and when it has no reason to believe that any violation of law has been committed. There can be no question of the timeliness of an investigation into the causes of the marked difference between the prices received by the grain grower and those paid by the ultimate consumer. Many of the farmers have long been convinced that in some way they were victimized by the railroads and the middlemen. The feeling of resentment has become so strong among them that in some of the wheat-growing States it has forced a realignment of political parties and has resulted in the demand for many laws and the enactment of a number of them as to the wisdom of which there is still grave difference of opinion.

The problems involved are of unusual perplexity. The causes of the evils most complained of are still obscure to many. Congress and the people need all the light they can get. The more thorough the inquiry, the more valuable its results should be, provided the investigators do not gather so much material that they will be unable to see the woods for the trees.

That is one side of the question. There is another. The respondents in these cases are private corporations, by which various individuals more conveniently carry on that trade of corn merchants which antedates the beginning of recorded history. They have and exercise no franchises other than that of being corporations. They are not engaged in rendering public service except in the sense that such service is rendered by every one who follows any useful calling. To them the demand that they shall be compelled to let strangers, officials though they be, go through not only their books of account but their correspondence files as well seems outrageous. In their belief the gain to the public from anything which such an inquiry can probably or possibly reveal seems slight as compared with the annoyance and sense of wrong it will cause them. If they are right, the search and seizure asked for would be unreasonable and therefore forbidden. The prohibition of unreasonable and the sanction of reasonable search and seizure is simply a practical compromise between two conflicting rights.

For upward of a century and a half there has been no doubt that general warrants are forbidden. No official can be given authority to rummage through the papers of an individual without the latter's consent, in the hope that something or other may be discovered useful for some public purpose. A corporation's rights as against the sovereign which created it, or permits it to do business within its borders, are not, it is true, the same as those of a natural person. It is the creature of the State. He is not. The State may exclude it, while he may freely come in. As a condition of obtaining a charter or, under some circumstances, of retaining it or doing business under it, it is probable the State might reserve a right to an unlimited inspection of all corporations' books and papers. But that question is not here presented. As was said in Silverthorne Lumber Co. v. United States, 251 U. S. at 392, " The rights of a corporation against unlawful search and seizure are to be protected even if the same result might have been achieved in a lawful way."

It is not necessary for the purposes of the instant case to inquire whether the United States may exercise over a corporation engaged in interstate or foreign commerce all the powers which are possessed by the State which chartered it. Even if it may, the wording of the statute, broad and general as in some respects it is, does not suggest that Congress intended to strike down as respects private corporations engaged in interstate commerce all the limitations which for 150 years or more had protected private papers from searches under general warrants. Nor is there anything in the legislative history of the act to suggest that the legislators supposed that they were taking so radical a step, or that they were raising a constitutional question of serious and farreaching character. Unquestionably some of them wanted to authorize the compulsory examination of the papers of a corporation, although no complaint of a specific violation of law was pending against it, or was in contemplation. Very possibly that much could be done, some of the things which were said in Harriman v. Interstate Commerce Commission, supra, to the contrary notwithstanding. Smith v. Interstate Commerce Commission, 245 U. S. 44. But so far as concerns nonpublic service corporations, at least, the inquiry in which the commission is engaged, whatever it is, must be more or less definite and restricted in its character, so that the activities of its minor agents, to whom in practice the actual searching must necessarily be confided, can be kept within some bounds. Very possibly, to sustain any right of inspection and searching, it must also appear that there is some reasonable proportion between the public value of the information likely to be obtained and the private annoyance and irritation it will occasion.

With these general principles in mind, it will be noted that the act gives the Commission power“ to invesigate the organization, business, conduct, practices, and man

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agement of any corporation engaged in [interstate or foreign] commerce and its relation to other corporations, and to individuals, associations, and partnerships" and that the right of access to papers and books is limited to those of a corporation being investigated or proceeded against. That much of a restriction the statute itself imposes. Whether it may, to that extent, authorize the examination of a private corporation's papers need not be here considered. These corporations are not being

. "proceeded” against. Are they, in the sense of the statute, being “investigated"? The investigation which the Commission has in hand, and for which it is here seeking information, is, strictly speaking, not of them or of the scores or, perhaps, hundreds of other corporations whose papers it wishes to inspect, but of the conditions affecting one of the most important branches of our national trade.

To make such an investigation scientifically complete, it may well be desirable to find out precisely how not only the corporations engaged in it conduct their business but to obtain the same fullness of information concerning the individuals or firms concerned in it; but the portions of the statute with which we are now dealing give no authority to inspect papers of any natural person. Is there not a fair presumption that the investigation mentioned in the statute was one of another character than the one now being carried on, and that it was to be an inquiry into the way the particular corporation itself conducted its business, having as its substantial object the ascertainment of facts concerning that corporation, and as its ultimate end the possibility that in some way such corporate body might be required to mend its ways? If that be not the true construction of the act, and if it really means that whenever the commission thinks best to make an inquiry into the way in which some great department of commerce is carried on it may send its employees into the office of every private corporation which does an interstate business in that line and empower them to go through the company's books, correspondence, and other papers, I am satisfied it goes beyond any power which Congress can confer, in this way at least.

It follows that the petitions for writs of mandamus must be denied.



(Court of Appeals of District of Columbia. Submitted May 22, 1922. Decided January 2, 1923.)

No. 3798,



CONCLUSIONS NOT ADMITTED BY MOTION TO STRIKE. Extensive arguments in the answer relative to the powers delegated by Congress to the Trade Commision and the power of Congress under the commerce clause of the Constitution (article 1, par. 8), are mere legal conclusions, not admitted by

the motion to strike the answer. 2. TRADE-MARKS AND TRADE NAMES AND UNFAIR COMPETITION


RELEVANT TO INTERSTATE COMMERCE. The powers of the Trade Commission are limited to matters directly relevant to interstate commerce, so that the corporation under investigation must not only be engaged in such commerce; but the subject under investigation must be so related to interstate commerce that its regulation may be accomplished by an act of Congress, or so interwoven with interstate commerce that the whole subject is necessarily brought within the



FEDERAL REGULATION. Where corporations maintained manufacturing plants in a single State, but purchased their raw materials or produced them at points without the State, and had them shipped by interstate carriers to their plants, and then sold the manufactured product in interstate commerce, the intrastate portion of the business was separable from the interstate so as not to be

subject to regulation by Congress. 4. COMMERCE KEY No. 16—MANUFACTURE OR PRODUCTION Is Not


The manufacture or production of goods is not commerce." 6. COMMERCE KEY No. 16—MANUFACTURE AND PRODUCTION MAY BE


ACCESSORY TO INTERSTATE COMMERCE. Where manufacture and production are a part of, and essential to, the operation of an instrumentality of interstate commerce, they may be so intimately associated with the instru

3 Writ of error to Supreme Court allowed March 17, 1923.

mentality itself as to be an accessory thereto, whose regula

tion is necessary to insure a regulation of the instrumentality. 6. COMMERCE KEY No. 16-PURCHASE OR PRODUCTION OF RAW


MERCE." The purchase or production by a manufacturer in another state of the raw materials for his plant, which are then delivered to an interstate carrier for shipment to the plant, are not in themselves commerce, since the articles are not used

in connection with an instrumentality of commerce. 7. COMMERCE KEY No. 16–CONGRESS CAN NOT REGULATE MANU


PRODUCT FOB INTERSTATE SHIPMENT. Except where the act of production or manufacture is directly related to the operation of an instrumentality of commerce, Congress can not regulate the manufacture of raw materials which have been shipped to the factory in interstate commerce into products which are to be shipped in interstate commerce.



LATE WHAT IT CAN NOT DIRECTLY REGULATE. If Congress may not regulate manufacture and production directly, because it is not a part of interstate commerce, it

may not regulate it indirectly through the medium of publicity. 9. TRADE-MARKS AND TRADE NAMES AND UNFAIR COMPETITION


BUSINESS IS NOT AFFECTED WITH PUBLIC INTEREST. The steel and iron business of the country is not affected with a public interest, such as to justify its regulation for the

promotion of the public welfare. 10. TRADE-MARKS AND TRADE NAMES AND UNFAIR COMPETITION

KEY No. 801, New, VOL. 8A KEY-No. SERIES—TRADE Com

MISSION HAS NO GENERAL VISITATORIAL POWERS. The Federal Trade Commission is not invested by Federal Trade Commission Act, Par. 6 (Comp. St. Par. 8836f), empowering it to gather and compile information concerning corporations engaged in commerce, etc., with authority to inquire into any business of nation-wide extent, and has no visitatorial powers coextensive with the constitutional functions of Congress; but its activites are strictly limited to the field of interstate commerce, outside of the portions of that field occupied by the Act to Regulate Commerce and the Federal Reserve Act.

(The syllabus is taken from 285 Fed. 936.) Appeal from the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia.

Suit by the Claire Furnace Company and others against the Federal Trade Commission and its members.

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