The United States Secretary of Agriculture (Secretary) (defendant) issued an order fixing the maximum rates to be charged by market agencies for buying and selling livestock at the Kansas City Stock Yards. Livestock traders (plaintiffs) challenged the order before the district court, arguing that the order deprived the traders of their property without due process of law. Paragraph IV of the traders’ complaint alleged that the Secretary did not personally consider the evidence presented at the administrative hearing, oral arguments, or briefs submitted by the plaintiffs. Paragraph IV alleged the Secretary instead based the decision on consultations with employees from the Department of Agriculture held outside the presence of the plaintiffs. The district court struck the allegations in paragraph IV and ultimately sustained the Secretary’s order. The plaintiffs appealed directly to the Supreme Court.