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the maps. The plaintiff in 1898 made an offer to the City of New York to furnish it with water from the region in question, but, pending investigation by the City, in 1901 the act of 1895 giving the plaintiff its rights was repealed by an act alleged to be unconstitutional and void. In 1905 the City was empowered itself to acquire new water supplies, machinery was provided to that end, and the City has gone ahead as we have stated, without regard to the plaintiff's alleged rights. The plaintiff sets up that the laws under which the City acts impair the obligation of contracts between it and the State and take its property without due process of law, contrary to Article I, § 10, and the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. An answer was filed, but the defendants also moved to dismiss for want of jurisdiction on the ground that all the parties were citizens of New York and that the case involved no question under the Constitution. The District Court, being of opinion that the bill disclosed no such rights as the plaintiff claimed and therefore showed no real constitutional ground, dismissed the bill.

The plaintiff's argument, while admitting that it must appear that there is a substantial question under the Constitution, and that the formal averment of such a question is not enough, makes a rather useless attack upon the application of that principle in Underground Railroad v. New York, 193 U. S. 416. If it is apparent that the bill is groundless, it does not matter very much whether the dismissal purports to be for want of jurisdiction or on the merits. But we are of opinion that the groundlessness of the bill is so obvious that it fairly may be said that no substantial constitutional question appears.

The charter of the company of course could be repealed without impairing the obligation of a contract as the right was reserved, as usual, in the constitution of the State. Calder v. Michigan, 218 U. S. 591. The only matter de

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serving a word is the claim that by filling the maps the corporation gained rights that survive. As to that, in the first place it would require stronger language than any that is found in the act of 1895 to lead us to believe that the legislature meant that the rights conferred with regard to routes should be extended over any or all of the watersheds in the State of which the plaintiff might see fit to file a map. The direction to file a map of the route adopted and the land to be taken, coupled with the other provisions that we have recited, appears to us to have in view the route and the land needed for the route, and only that, not the thousand square miles that the plaintiff claims. In the next place the plaintiff had given no notice to anybody and notice to occupants of the land is a condition to the existence of any right. And finally it is held in New York and affirmed by this court, that no such right even for the route of a railroad is created as against the State by the filing of a map. People v. Adirondack Ry., 160 N. Y. 225, 242–247; 176 U. S. 335, 346. Underground R. R. v. New York, 193 U. S. 416, 428.

We appreciate the argument that although the corporation may have had no lien on the land or right as against the sovereign power, it had a right as against all subordinate bodies to exclude them from the lands of its choice, that the decisions had declared this right to be vested and indestructible except by legitimate exercise of the power of eminent domain, that it had spent money and taken action on the faith of them, and that a later decision cannot take away the right. But the cases relied upon are too remote for the confident application of that doctrine if there were no other objections to it. They concern the effect of filing a map of a railroad route and only when coupled with notice to the landowners concerned. We should be more inclined to follow Sauer v. New York, 206 U. S. 536. Moore-Mansfield Construction Co. v. Electrical Installation Co., 234 U. S. 619, 626. Wil

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loughby v. Chicago, 235 U. S. 45. But as we have said, nothing short of a specific decision of the Court of Appeals would make us believe that the act of 1895 gave to the plaintiff, without notice to landowners or other preliminary, a vested right, seemingly unlimited in time, to exclude the rest of the world from whatever watersheds it chose, simply by filing a map.

Decree affirmed.






Nos. 420, 421. Argued October 19, 20, 1914.—Decided March 8, 1915.

This court takes the facts as found by the state court as established unless (1) A Federal right has been denied as the result of a finding shown

by the record to be unsupported by evidence or (2) A conclusion of law as to a Federal right and a finding of fact

are so commingled as to make it necessary to analyze the latter. Neither of those conditions exist in this case. Railroad property is private property devoted to public use and the

State has a broad field for the exercise of its discretion in prescribing

reasonable rates for common carriers within its jurisdiction. It is not necessary there should be uniform rates or the same per

centage of profits on every sort of business; there is room for reason

able classification. Despite this range of permissible action the State has no arbitrary

power over rates; the devotion of the carrier's property to public use is qualified by the carrier's right to a reasonable reward; the State

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may not select a commodity on a class of traffic even if of a low grade and instead of fixing a reasonable rate require the carrier to transport

it at less than cost or for merely nominal compensation. Public interest cannot be invoked as a justification for demands passing

the limits of constitutional protection. This court does not sit as a revisory board to substitute its judgment

for that of the legislature or its administrative agent. This court is not required to concern itself with mere details of a

schedule; or to review a particular tariff which yields substantial compensation, when the profitableness of the intrastate business as a whole is not involved. But a different question arises when the State has segregated a commodity, or a class of traffic, and has attempted to compel the carrier to transport it at a loss or without

substantial compensation. There is a presumption that rates fixed by the State for intrastate

traffic are reasonable and just but it is one that may be rebutted by

the carrier showing, as in this case, that it is non-compensatory. As the maximum intrastate rates on coal in carload lots fixed by ch. 51

of the laws of North Dakota are unreasonable either requiring the carrier to transport the commodity at a loss or for a merely nominal compensation after taking into account the entire traffic to which the rates apply—the State exceeded its authority in enacting the statute which amounts to an attempt to take the property of the carrier without due process of law in violation of the Fourteenth

Amendment. 26 N. Dak. 438, reversed.

The facts, which involve the validity under the due process provision of the Fourteenth Amendment of a statute of North Dakota fixing maximum intrastate rates for transportation of coal by railroad companies, are stated in the opinion.

Mr. Charles W. Bunn, with whom Mr. Charles Donnelly was on the brief, for plaintiff in error in No. 420.

Mr. John I. Dille, with whom Mr. A. H. Bright and Mr. John L. Erdall were on the brief, for plaintiff in error in No. 421.

Mr. Andrew Miller, Attorney General of the State of North Dakota, and Mr. C. L. Young, with whom Mr. John

236 U. S.

Argument for Defendants in Error.

Carmody and Mr. Alfred Tager were on the brief, for defendants in error:

A non-compensatory rate is not necessarily confiscatory. There may be such a special commodity rate fixed by the state authorities and if the entire intrastate business yields a fair profit upon the investment devoted thereto, the special rate by itself is not a taking of property. The rule is elastic. This court has never held that a rate for service lower than is returned for the entire business or because it returns no profits is unreasonable.

Smyth v. Ames, 169 U. S. 466, does not hold that fair returns upon property invested is an unqualified rule. The rate allowed is what the services rendered are reasonably worth. The right to dividends must give way to the paramount right of the public. Minn. & St. L. Ry. v. Minnesota, 186 U. S. 268; Covington Turnpike v. Sanford, 164 U. S. 576; Reagan v. Farmers L. & T. Co., 154 U. S. 362; San Diego Land Co. v. National City, 174 U. S. 757; St. Louis & S. F. Ry. v. Gill, 54 Arkansas, 101; S. C., aff'd 156 U. S. 649.

A carrier is not entitled to a uniform rate of return on each commodity. Interstate Ry. V. Massachusetts, 207 U. S. 79. So as to other public utilities corporations. Willcox v. Consol. Gas Co., 212 U. S. 19; Atlantic Coast Line v. North Carolina, 206 U. S. 1.

In passing upon reasonableness of rates the interests of the public as well as the carrier are to be considered. Matthews v. Corporation Comm., 106 Fed. Rep. 7; Southern Ry. v. McNeill, 155 Fed. Rep. 756; Arkansas Rate Cases, 168 Fed. Rep. 730; S. C., 187 Fed. Rep. 307. State court cases are to like effect. Southern Ry. v. Stoveworks, 128 Georgia, 223; Jacobson v. Wisconsin Ry., 71 Minnesota, 519; Taylor v. Mo. Pac. Ry., 76 Kansas, 467; Cantrell v. St. Louis &c. Co., 176 Illinois, 512; McCue v. Nor. Pac. Ry., 19 N. Dak. 45. See also Louis. & Nash. R. R. Coal Rates, 26 I. C. C. 220; Wyman on Pub. Serv.

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