Administrative Law – Judicial Review – Ripeness for Revew of an Interstate Commerce Commission Order

In order to operate in interstate commerce, motor carriers must obtain a certificate of public necessity and convenience from the Interstate Commerce Commission and must obey the Interstate Commerce Act. However, motor vehicles used in carrying ” . . . agricultural . . . commodities (not including manufactured goods) . . .” may operate free of the act. The commission on its own initiative investigated the meaning of the term “agricultural commodities,” and after two years published a seventy-one page list classifying certain commodities as within or not within the exemption. Petitioner, an interstate trucker of various commodities listed as non-agricultural, sought to enjoin the classification and have it set aside. A three-judge district court dismissed the action, saying the “order” of the commission was not subject to judicial review. On appeal, held, reversed, one justice dissenting. The order has an immediate and practical effect on petitioner; it is not abstract or theoretical and the issues raised are justiciable. Frozen Food Express v. United States, 351 U.S. 40 (1956).