Imágenes de páginas

completes the description of centralism in the federal administration-it is the rule throughout.

As a matter of practical government the performance of centralized administration seems prodigious. The secret of the success is system. System-in the subordination of officers inferior to superior; system-in the co-ordination of officers of the same grade for division of labor. The subordination is necessary so that all may be overseen from step to step. The result in administra. tion is the possibility of immediate action. Whatever any superior wishes done, he may command it done with definiteness by the most remote inferior. Matters of routine are done at the bottom; only where they involve extraordinary action are they referred to the top; and yet in each case the theory is preserved that all action proceeds from the top. The matters of routine are done by every officer of the saine grade in co-ordination. The principle is well understood that ten men properly coordinated upon lines of exact specialization or precise division can do the work of fifty acting as separate individuals. The effectiveness of a centralized administration is therefore no untested theory; it is a demonstrated fact.49

$ 65. Superior.

Centralism granted, various consequences follow. It is worth while now to look into the processes of administration to see what these consequences are.

49 INTERDEPENDENCE.-Snyder v. Sickles, 98 U. S. 211; Catholic Bishop v. Gibbon, 158 U. S. 167; Parsons v. Venzke, 164 U. S. 89; Carter v. Ruddy, 166 U. S. 493; Dart's Case, 11 Opin. 109; Hooper v. Ferguson, 2 Land Dec. 712; In re Hull, 1869 Pat. Dec. 68; In re Hamilton, 2 Pen. Dec. 217; Fees of Clerks of Courts, 7 Comp. Dec. 814; Proceedings in rem, etc., Treas. Dec. No. 11,942; Real Estate, 3 Int. Rev. Rec. 37.

The matter of the pension of one Miller produced two most instructive cases. The first is Miller v. Black, 128 U. S. 50 (1888). Miller, the relator, having made an unsuccessful application to the Commissioner of Pensions for an increase of his pension, finally appealed to the Secretary of Interior; it was decided that Miller came within the laws granting a special rating to those persons who require special aid and attendance; and accordingly the Secretary sent down a memorandum overruling the decision of the Commissioner. The petition for mandamus complained that the Commissioner refused to perform his duty in the premises to carry into effect the official decision of the Secretary.

Mr. Justice BRADLEY gave this opinion upon this case: If, as the petition suggests, the Commissioner of Pensions refuses to carry out the decision of his superior officer, there would seem to be prima facie ground for at least calling upon him to show cause why a mandamus should not issue. This is all that the petitioner asked, and this the court below refused. As a general rule, when a superior tribunal has rendered a decision binding upon an inferior, it becomes the ministerial duty of the latter to obey it and carry it out. So far as respects the matters decided, there is no discretion or exercise of judgment left. The appellate tribunal in the present case is the Secretary of the Interior, who has no power to enforce his decision by mandamus, or by any process of like nature; and, therefore, a resort to a judicial tribunal would seem to be necessary in order to afford a remedy to the party by the refusal of the Commissioner to carry out his decision. But it is suggested that a removal of the contumacious subordinate from office or a civil suit brought against him for damages would be effectual remedies. We do not concur in this view. We think that the case suggested is one in which it would be proper for the court to interfere on mandamus.

The second case is United States v. Raum, 135 U. S. 200 (1890). In pursuance of this decision in Miller v. Black, the rule was granted to show cause why the mandamus should not issue. The Commissioner thereupon filed an answer, by which he claimed, among other things, that his official action in the rating of pensions is not subject to review by the courts, since the determination of that question has been left to his discretion; that there is no specific provision in any statute providing any set rate of pension, in case of disability such as that of the plaintiff ; that he has carried out the decision of the Secretary of Interior rendered in his case by placing the petitioner within the class designated by that decision; but that he has fixed the rate in accordance with his own practice in such cases.

Mr. Justice BRADLEY again delivered the opinion: Without assuming to decide whether the construction given by the Commissioner to the act was right or wrong, the question which we are to consider is whether, in adopting the construction he did and acting upon it, he disregarded and disobeyed the decision of the Secretary of the Interior. In Miller v. Black, 128 U. S. 50, it is held that when a subordinate officer is overruled by his superior having appellate jurisdiction over him, his duty to obey the decision of such superior is a ministerial duty, which he can be compelled by mandamus to perform. In that case the relator was the same person as in the present; but the record was very meagre, and did not set forth all the facts. With the additional facts before us, which are now presented by these documents, in connection with the answer of the Commissioner, we are satisfied that there was no failure to comply with or to carry out the decision of the Secretary. Whatever may have been the ground upon which the Commissioner based his conclusion, it is clear that the decision of the Secretary left the matter open; that he only decided that the relator came under the meaning of the law granting pensions to those who require regular aid and attendance; and that the Commissioner acquiesced in this decision and rated the pension at $50 upon that basis.

These two decisions taken together show what the law of administration is in a very striking manner. In these decisions the course of things in administration is described in a very exact manner.

Where a superior officer has a discretionary power, any action by him in pursuance of that power may create a duty for his inferior officer of such nature as he may designate in his order. If by this process a superior officer lays an explicit command upon his inferior officer, the result is that the inferior officer is now under a ministerial duty which he must perform according to the tenor of the command. This in a simple case is the working out of administration. The usual processes of administration are more complicated, because one such step is added to another such ster For example, the head of a department gives a general order to the chief of a bureau; the result is that it is the ministerial duty of the chief of bureau to act, but what action he shall take is within the discretionary power allowed to him by this general order. Ile in turn gives a special order to the chief of some division; the same process recurs; it is the ministerial duty of the chief of division to act, but what directions he shall give are within his discretion. The last step is the designation of the chief of division of some special clerk to do some special act; here at last the duty is ministerial, the clerk must do that act. In brief, this is the process of administration, the continuous process of the action of a superior creating duties for an inferior. 50

$ 66. Inferior.

If this description is correct, anything that is contrary to this in principle cannot stand in any administration which is constructed upon the theory of centralism. The opposite of all this would be to conceive of a state of the law where the action of some inferior with some discretion concluded matters and created thereby ministerial duties for the superior to perfect that action, This would be an inversion indeed. And yet this is no supposititious case. Again and again, it has been urged in various cases upon various facts that the action of some subordinate had made the matter res adjudicata. It is well, therefore, to be prepared for such a contention.

A leading case in this phase of the question is Orchard v. Alexander, 157 U. S. 372 (1895). This case arose out of a competition for a tract of government land in Washington State. The plaintiff was first in the field; on December 20, 1880, he filed his declaratory statement

50 SUPERIOR.—United States v. Black, 128 U. S. 40; United States v. Raum, 135 U. S. 200; Las Animas Grant, 15 Opin. 94; Fowler v. Dodge, 1898 Pat. Dec. 257; Law & Prac. of Reimbursement, 6 Pen. Dec. 297; Revision of Accounts, 4 Comp. Dec. 723; Pueblo Case, 5 Land Dec. 483.

« AnteriorContinuar »