Exclusive Power as an Adjunct to Other Powers

The cases just reviewed involved attempts to close the mails to communication that were deemed to be harmful. A much broader power of exclusion was asserted in the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935.1505 To induce compliance with the regulatory requirements of that act, Congress denied the privilege of using the mails for any purpose to holding companies that failed to obey that law, irrespective of the character of the material to be carried. Viewing the matter realistically, the Supreme Court treated this provision as a penalty. Although it held this statute constitutional because the regulations whose infractions were thus penalized were themselves valid,1506 it declared that “Congress may not exercise its control over the mails to enforce a requirement which lies outside its constitutional province. . . .”1507

Footnotes

1505
49 Stat. 803, 812, 813, 15 U.S.C. §§ 79d, 79e. [Back to text]
1506
Electric Bond & Share Co. v. SEC, 303 U.S. 419 (1938). [Back to text]
1507
303 U.S. at 442. [Back to text]