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'The Spirit Of' Due Process As Advocated By Charles Lindbergh: Revisiting Pacific Air Transport v. United States, 98 Ct. Cl. 649 (Ct. Cl. 1942).
AuthorClark, II, Thomas C.
AdvisorMarsh, Shawn C.
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Although the Air Mail Affair dominates the country’s headlines as it unfolds throughout the winter and spring of 1934, it is mostly a forgotten chapter in American history. Without warning, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his Postmaster General James Farley annul the airmail contracts with more than 30 different commercial airlines. On February 9, 1934, Roosevelt enters Executive Order 6591 directing the U.S. Army Air Corps to fly the mail instead of the commercial airlines which are denied a grievance procedure or an opportunity to be heard.The carriers file suit but the United States Court of Claims does not decide the case until several years later on December 7, 1942. In Pacific Air Transport v. United States, 98 Ct. Cl. 649 (1942), the court holds that Postmaster General Farley justifiably annuls the airmail contracts negotiated by former Postmaster General Walter Brown but the commercial airlines are entitled to payment withheld by Roosevelt and Farley for the airmail services provided in January and February 1934. Following a review of the existing, relevant and possibly persuasive case law from this time period, this treatise analyzes the Pacific Air decision and specifically considers whether President Roosevelt violates separation of powers and offends due process as guaranteed by the Constitution when he abruptly cancels the airmail contracts with the commercial mail carriers.