Department of Transportation v. Association of American Railroads (U.S. Supreme Court)

Section 207 of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 empowers Amtrak and the Federal Railroad Administration to jointly develop metrics and standards for the performance of Amtrak. These standards are incorporated into a host of regulations that Amtrak and other passenger and freight railroads must satisfy or else be subject to penalties. The Association of American Railroads, a trade organization for freight railroads, sued, arguing that Section 207 is an unconstitutional delegation under Carter v. Carter Coal Co., 298 U.S. 238 (1936), because Amtrak is a private market participant that competes with freight railroads for the use of shared tracks. The D.C. Circuit agreed and the federal government petitioned for certiorari. The Association of Independent Passenger Rail Operators filed a brief as amicus curiae in support of the Association of American Railroads. AIPRO is a trade organization for passenger railroads that compete directly with Amtrak.