Yakus v. United States, 321 U.S. 414; 64 S. Ct. 660; 88 L. Ed. 834 (1944)

Facts—The petitioner was tried and convicted for willfully selling whole sale cuts of beef at prices above the maximum prices prescribed by the price regulations set down by the federal price administrator under the authority of the Emergency Price Control Act of January 30, 1942, as amended by the Inflation Control Act of October 2, 1942.

Question—Do the acts in question involve an unconstitutional delegation to the price administrator of the legislative power of Congress to control prices?

Decision—No.

Reasons—C.J. Stone (6–3). “The essentials of the legislative function are the determination of the legislative policy and its formulation and promulgation as a defined and binding rule of conduct—here the rule, with penal sanctions, that prices shall not be greater than those fixed by maximum price regulations which conform to standards and will tend to further the policy which Congress has established. These essentials are preserved when Congress has specified the basic conditions of fact upon whose existence or occurrence, ascertained from relevant data by a designated administrative agency, it directs that its statutory command shall be effective. It is no objection that the determination of facts and the inferences to be drawn from them in the light of the statutory standards and declaration of policy call for the exercise of judgment, and for the formulation of subsidiary administrative policy within the prescribed statutory framework. . . . The standards prescribed by the present Act, with the aid of the ‘statement of the considerations’ required to be made by the administrator, are sufficiently definite and precise to enable Congress, the courts, and the public to ascertain whether the administrator, in fixing the designated prices, has conformed to those standards. Hence we are unable to find in them an unauthorized delegation of legislative power.”

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