Yakus v. United States
United States Supreme Court
321 U.S. 414 (1944)
Pursuant to the Emergency Price Control Act (the act), the Office of Price Administration, headed by the price administrator (administrator), established maximum prices for several commodities, including beef. The act’s stated purpose was to stabilize prices to avoid wartime inflation. Further, the act provided that the administrator, an executive officer, would fix the maximum price of a commodity only if the price first rose to a level inconsistent with the act’s purpose. Finally, the act established standards that the administrator was to apply in fixing prices. For example, fixed prices were to be fair and equitable, and the administrator was required to consider prevailing prices during the period prior to the increase prompting regulation. The act also delineated the procedure by which a person could challenge a fixed price’s validity. A person could file a petition with the administrator within 60 days of a regulation being issued. Further, the act created the Emergency Court of Appeals and granted that court and the United States Supreme Court exclusive jurisdiction to review the administrator’s decisions. Albert Yakus (defendant) was charged with selling beef at prices above the maximum prescribed by the administrator. In his defense, Yakus argued that the act constituted an improper delegation of legislative power. He also argued that the fixed price was unfair and therefore invalid. However, Yakus had not previously challenged the price’s validity by filing for review with the administrator, and the 60-day period to do so had passed. Yakus was convicted, and the First Circuit affirmed. The Supreme Court granted certiorari.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Stone, C.J.)
Dissent (Roberts, J.)
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