Yakus v. United States

321 U.S. 414 (1944)


The Emergency Price Control Act provides for the establishment of the Office of Price Administration (OPA) under the direction of a Price Administrator appointed by the President and sets up a comprehensive scheme for the promulgation by the Administrator of regulations or orders fixing such maximum prices of commodities and rents as will effectuate the purposes of the Act and conform to the standards which it prescribes. The Act was adopted as a temporary wartime measure, and provides in §1 (b) for its termination on June 30, 1943, unless sooner terminated by Presidential proclamation or concurrent resolution of Congress. By the amendatory Act of October 2, 1942, it was extended to June 30, 1944. The Act was passed 'in the interest of the national defense and security and necessary to the effective prosecution of the present war.' OPA’s authority included setting the maximum prices for beef. The Act provided the OPA with the authority to fix maximum prices if the price rose to levels inconsistent with the purpose of the Act. The prices that were fixed were supposed to be fair and equitable in the judgment of the Administrator. OPA was to consider the prevailing prices in the period prior to any wartime price increases. Ds in both of these cases were tried and convicted in violation of §§ 4 (a) and 205 (b) of the Act by the willful sale of wholesale cuts of beef at prices above the maximum prices prescribed by §§ 1364.451-1364.455 of Revised Maximum Price Regulation No. 169, 7 Fed. Reg. 10381 et seq. Ds have not availed themselves of the procedure set up by §§ 203 and 204 by which any person subject to a maximum price regulation may test its validity by protest to and hearing before the Administrator, whose determination may be reviewed on complaint to the Emergency Court of Appeals and by the Supreme Court on certiorari. When the indictments were found the 60 days' period allowed by the statute for filing protests had expired. Ds were convicted and appealed. The Supreme Court granted certiorari.