Panama Refining Co. v. Ryan

293 U.S. 388 (1935)


The President, by Executive Order, prohibited the transportation in interstate and foreign commerce of petroleum and the products thereof produced or withdrawn from storage in excess of the amount permitted to be produced or withdrawn from storage by any State law or valid regulation. That order was made under § 10(a) of the National Industrial Recovery Act authorizing the President 'to prescribe such rules and regulations as may be necessary to carry out the purposes' of the Act. More orders were issued, and more and different regulations were made and eventually these suits were brought. Panama Refining Company (P) sued to restrain the defendants, who were federal officials, from enforcing Regulations as prescribed by the Secretary of the Interior under § 9(c) of the Act. Ps claimed that § 9(c) as an unconstitutional delegation to the President of legislative power and as transcending the authority of the Congress under the commerce clause.  Amazon Petroleum Corporation (P) not only attacked § 9(c) and its regulations but challenged the validity of provisions of the Petroleum Code. A court of three judges was convened. That court decided that the cause of action against the federal officials for the consideration of the District Judge alone. The parties agreed that the causes of action should be severed and that each cause should be submitted to the tribunal having jurisdiction of it. The court sustaining the state orders denied injunction, and dismissed the bill as against the state authorities. In both cases against the federal officials, a permanent injunction was granted. The Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the decrees against the federal officials and directed that the bills be dismissed.