U.S. Supreme Court

Case Status


Docket Number


2014 Term

Oral Argument Date

December 08, 2014


Questions Presented

Whether Section 207 of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008, which requires the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and Amtrak to “jointly . . . develop” the metrics and standards for Amtrak’s performance that will be used in part to determine whether the Surface Transportation Board (STB) will investigate a freight railroad for failing to provide the preference for Amtrak’s passenger trains that is required by federal law, and provides for the STB to appoint an arbitrator if the FRA and Amtrak cannot agree on the metrics and standards within 180 days, effects an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power to a private entity.

Case Updates

Supreme Court decides FRA Performance Standards case

March 09, 2015

The Supreme Court unanimously reversed the D.C. Circuit’s judgment that Congress, in the Amtrak Reform Act of 2008, had unconstitutionally delegated governmental authority to Amtrak on the ground that Amtrak is a private corporation.

U.S. Chamber files amicus brief

September 29, 2014

In its brief, the U.S. Chamber argued that the Supreme Court should affirm the decision of the D.C. Circuit that invalidates Section 207 of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 as an unconstitutional delegation of authority. The Chamber reasoned that the Constitution establishes important restraints on the power of Congress to delegate rulemaking power to private parties and that eliminating the Government’s exclusive ability to impose final rules or to disapprove or modify privately developed rules transgresses these important limits. The brief contends also that Section 207’s delegation of authority to Amtrak threatens the efficiency of freight-rail service, and therefore could impose significant costs to companies and consumers that rely on freight rail.

C. Frederick Beckner III, Jonathan F. Cohn, and Joshua J. Fougere of Sidley Austin LLP represented the U.S. Chamber as co-counsel to the U.S. Chamber Litigation Center.

Case Documents