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THE PROCESSES OF THE ADMINISTRATION.
$ 120. Introduction.
121. Ex Parte Proceedings.
$ 120. Introduction.
The external law of administration governs the jurisdiction of the administration over controversies that arise in the course of the execution of the law. But the internal law of the administration governs the procedure in the controversies when the decision is made. It is to be remarked that while the rules of external law that have been discussed upon the whole are rigid, the rules of the internal law that are to be discussed, it will be found, are often discretionary. As this is quasi judicial work, upon the whole the judicial process is used, as that is best adapted in a large way to the determination of controversies. But in the course of adjudication by the administration there will often be a departure from the forms of judicial process. After all, in any emergencies the administration is impatient of forms.
The nature of the process in administration may best
be seen by the examination of some typical proceedings in various lines of administration. In the course of this chapter examples of ex parte proceedings will first be brought forward. There will be a description of a claim before the Pension Office. Next there will be a description of an allowance before the Comptroller's Office. Next there will be a description of a collection by the Customs branch. Then inter partes will be taken up. Next in order, a contest before the Patent Office. After that a protest before the Land Office. After that a remission before the Internal Revenue Office. It is hoped that from these diverse illustrations some idea can be gotten of the processes of the administrations.
$ 121. Ex parte proceedings.
That is because there is no necessity in law to use judicial form in the adjudication. The only requirement is that the decision shall be reached in some proper manner. A case upon that point is Earnshaw v. United States, 146 U. S. 60 (1892). In that case the importer had been given a day to appear before the appraiser. His clerk answered that he was absent in Cuba; whereupon he was given another day by telegram, to which no reply was made. The appraiser thereupon adjudicated upon the case ex parte. The complaint of the importer was that he had not had a proper opportunity to present his case according to due process.
Mr. Justice BROWN gave the opinion: It is conceded in this case that the appraisement was binding provided that it was properly conducted. It is complained that due notice was not given. No provision is expressly made by statute for notice to the importer. The Board of Appraisers is invested with powers of a quasi judicial character; and the appraisers are bound by all reasonable ways and means to ascertain the appraisement. With respect to their method of procedure, they are vested with a certain discretion, which will be respected by the courts except where such discretion has been manifestly abused and the Board has proceeded in wanton disregard of justice. The general principle is too well established to admit of doubt that where the action of an inferior tribunal is discretionary its decision is final. The tribunal in this case was created as part of the machinery of the government for the collection of duties upon imports, and while its proceedings partake of a semi-judicial character it is not reasonable to expect that in notifying the importer it should proceed with the technical accuracy necessary to charge the defendant with liability in a court of law. The operations of the government in the collection of its revenue ought not to be embarrassed by requiring too strict an adherence to the forms and modes of proceedings recognized in the courts of law, so long as the rights of its taxpayers are not sacrificed.
A case upon this point from the administrative point of view is Dargie, 13 Land Dec. 277 (1892). This was a motion before the Secretary of the Interior to remand a certain contested case to the Commissioner. argued in support of this motion that no notice of the petition upon which the cases were transmitted to the department was ever served upon the contestant, that the transmission was therefore in violation of the rules which limit appeal from local officers. It was claimed therefore that the department could have no jurisdiction
in the matter. The question was rather what should be done at this stage, than what might be done if the Secretary had seen fit to act.
Secretary NOBLE held: The fact that the law places the entire duty of its execution upon the Secretary of the Interior furnishes no reason for suspending the rules of practice and depriving parties of the rights given thereby; for the Secretary of the Interior is charged with the supervision of the public business relating to public land, and the Commissioner of the General Land Office is charged with the performance under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior of all executive duties. The duty of the Secretary under the act now in question is supervision. The usual and ordinary mode of seeking a decision from the Secretary upon questions of this character is by way of appeal pointed out in the rules which have been formulated and approved as best adapted to protect the interests of claimants for public lands and at the same time to expedite the transaction of business in relation to such lands. None of them shall be construed to deprive the Secretary of Interior of the exercise of the directory and supervisory powers conferred on him by the law; but it is also true that they are to be followed when there is no Occasion made out for the invoking of these powers. The importance of having uniform rules in these matters and of enforcing them has often been recognized.93
93 EX PARTE PROCEEDINGS.—United States v. Jones, 8 Pet. 375; Decatur v. Paulding, 14 Pet. 497; United States v. Tappan, 11 Wheat. 426; Lawrence v. Caswell, 13 How. 497; Vance v. Burbank, 101 l'. S. 519; United States v. Teller, 107 U. S. 68; United States v. Black, 128 U. S. 40; Earnshaw v. United States, 146 U. S. 67; United States v. Harmon, 147 U. S. 268; Passavant v. United States, 148 U. S. 219; Ballew v. United States, 160 U. S. 187; Chorpenning v. United States, 11 Ct. of Cl. 625; McElrath v. United States, 12 Ct. of Ci. 201.
$ 122. Claim.
The first illustration proposed is that of a claim for a pension through the Pension Bureau. The application for a pension which is filed by the claimant contains, like a declaration, the grounds upon which the pension is claimed, following its main point,—the provision of the act under which the application is made. For example, in an invalid pension the applicant must describe his military status, relate how he was disabled, state his medical record and set forth what rating he claims. Of course this matter is all covered by general forms.
The first stage in the proceedings in the Pension Office may be briefly described.
The application is recorded in the Record Division. From the Record Division it is sent to the proper Adjudicating Division, according to the territory from which the claims come. It is there placed before the chief of that division, who assigns it to a subordinate examiner to determine in the first instance whether there is pensionable status. As pension able status depends upon the disabilities of service in the case under consideration, the next reference will be to the Record Office of the War Department. Upon the answer of the War Department the case is reopened by the examiner. The point now is to determine whether the proof submitted is sufficient to establish the material facts made necessary by the law. It may be necessary to call for further proof.
If the claim is one that requires proof of present disability, the next step in the process is an official medical