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Postal Service

ct, ed, sup, mails, fed, mail, power and compensation

POSTAL SERVICE. That relating to the mails, their transmission and delivery.

The act of July 26, 1892, provides that after a general advertisement for the trans portation of the mails, the postmaster-gen eral may secure any mail service that may become necessary, and the contract shall be made with the lowest bidder. Where a con tract is awarded to the lowest bidder, it can be changed only in the manner provided in §§ 3957-3959; Cosgrove v. U. S., 31 Ct. Cl. 332.

The compensation of mail contractors is fixed by contract and by law of congress. The postmaster-general may make deduc tion for failure to perform services, and may also deduct the price of the trip in all cases where the trip is not performed; Otis v. U. S., 24 Ct. Cl. 61. Compensation for addi tional services in carrying the mail is not to be in excess of the exact proportion which the original compensation bears to the orig inal services ; Allman v. U. S., 131 U. S. 31, 35, 9 Sup. Ct. 632, 33 L. Ed. 51. The orig inal letting, and not any subsequent increase of service or pay, is made the standard of limitation under § 3960; 17 Op. Atty. Gen. 166. If an allowance is made under false representations or by mistake, the money paid can be recovered ; U. S. v. Barlow, 132 U. S. 271, 10 Sup. Ct. 77, 33 L. Ed. 346 ; U. S. v. Carr, 132 U. S. 644, 10 Sup. Ct. 182, 33 L. Ed. 483 ; U. S. v. Voorhees, 135 U. S. 550, 10 Sup. Ct. 841, 34 L. Ed. 258; and money re ceived under an expedited schedule as-pay ment for additional horses and men and never used, though allowed in the order of expedition, was held bound to be subject to being refunded to the United States; U. S. v. Barlow, 132 U. S. 271, 10 Sup. Ct. 77, 33 L. Ed. 346. The clause proilding that the compensation should not be in excess the exact proportion does not prevent its being less ; 19 Op. Atty. Gen. 147.

Most of the criminal legislation of con gress rests upon no express grant of power, but upon the power to make all laws neces sary and proper for carrying into execution the powers conferred ; Ordron. Coust. Leg. 559. The power to establish postoffices and post roads includes the power to punish of fences committed against its administration, by Whatever name it may be known; U. S. v. Jenther, 13 Blatch. 335, Fed. Cas. No. 15,476; U. S. v. Kirby, 7 Wall. (U. S.) 482, 19 L. Ed. 278 ; forbid the use of the mails to carry matter which disseminates crime and immorality ; In re Rapier, 143 U. S. 110, 12

Sup. Ct. 374, 36 L. Ed. 93.

The right of congress to establish post offices and post roads authorizes all meas ures necessary to secure the safe and speedy transmission of the mails and a prompt de livery of their contents; congress may pre scribe what shall be carried and what shall be excluded ; U. S. v. Musgrave; 160 Fed. 700; Public Clearing House v. Coyne, 194 U. S. 506, 24 Sup. Ct. 789, 48 L. Ed. 1092; and the size, weight, shape and character of the contents of every mailable package; limit the superscription, and declare a vio lation of its regulations to be a public of fense and fix the punishment therefor. The unrestricted use of the mails is not one of the fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution ; Warren v. U. S., 183 Fed. 718, 106 0. a A. 156, 33 L. R. A. (N. S.) 800. In Lewis Pub. Co. v. Morgan, 229 U. S. 288, 33 Sup. Ct. 867, 57 L. Ed. 1190, the provisions' in § 2 of the post office appro priation act of 1912 regarding publications and conditions under which they can be car ried in the mails were construed, and it was held that these provikons are intended sim ply to supplement existing legislation rela tive to second-class mail matter, and not as an exercise of legislative power to regulate the press, curtail its freedom or to deprive one not complying therewith of all right to use the mail service.

Opening a letter which had been in the postoffice, before delivery to the person to whom it was directed, with the intent to pry into his correspondence, is an offence against the postal laws, even though the letter was not sealed at the time; U. S. v. Pond, 2 Curt. 265, Fed. Cas. No. 16,067 ; and though it come from a criminal and is sup posed to contain improper information; Andrews v. U. S., 162 U. S. 420, 16 Sup. Ct. 798, 40 L. Ed. 1023 ; but in order to con stitute an offence against the postal laws the letter must have been in the custody of the postmaster or his agents ; The Louisiana Lottery Cases, 20 Fed. 625.

Obstructing mails. The United States may enjoin obstructions to highways used in interstate commerce and in transporting the mails; Re Debs, 158 U. S. 564, 15 Sup. Ct. 900, 39 L. Ed. 1092. This applies to obstruc tions upon railroads and electric railways, and includes employes who suddenly desert their work; id.; U. S. v. Thomas, 55 Fed. 380 ; U. S. v. Woodward, 44 Fed. 592. See