Bowles v. Willingham

321 U.S. 503 (1944)


Congress passed the Emergency Price Control Act of 1942. Sec. 2 (b) provides in part that, 'Whenever in the judgment of the Administrator such action is necessary or proper in order to effectuate the purposes of this Act, he shall issue a declaration setting forth the necessity for, and recommendations with reference to, the stabilization or reduction of rents for any defense-area housing accommodations within a particular defense-rental area.' The Administrator issued a declaration designating twenty-eight areas in various parts of the country, including Macon, Georgia, as defense-rental areas. It contained a recommendation pursuant to § 2 (b) that the maximum rent for housing accommodations rented on April 1, 1941, should be the rental for such accommodations on that date; and that in case of accommodations not rented on April 1, 1941, or constructed thereafter provisions for the determination, adjustment, and modification of maximum rents should be made, such rents to be in principle no greater than the generally prevailing rents in the particular area on April 1, 1941. On June 30, 1942, the Administrator issued Maximum Rent Regulation No. 26, effective July 1, 1942, establishing the maximum legal rents for housing in these defense areas, including Macon, Georgia. D of Macon, Georgia, sued in a Georgia court to restrain the issuance of certain rent orders under the Emergency Price Control Act of 1942.  She claimed the orders and the statutory provisions on which they rested were unconstitutional. The state court issued, ex parte, a temporary injunction, and a show cause order. P Administrator of the Office of Price Administration, brought this suit in the federal District Court pursuant to § 205 (a) of the Act and § 24 (1) of the Judicial Code to restrain D from further prosecution of the state proceedings and from violation of the Act, and to restrain Hicks, Bibb County sheriff, from executing or attempting to execute any orders in the state proceedings. The District Court dismissed P's suit on bill and answer, holding that the orders in question and the provisions of the Act on which they rested were unconstitutional. P appealed directly to the Supreme Court.