United States Vs. Grimaud
Facts: The defendants were charged for taking their sheep to graze in a forest reserve without asking or obtaining authorization needed by the regulations adopted by the Agriculture Secretary. According to the defendants, the Forest Reserve Act of 1891, 26 Stat. 1103, was not constitutional to the extent that it assigned the power to the Secretary to come up with rules and regulations and to make a contravention thereof a penal offense. The United States took their appeal when a number of their charges were sustained.
Issue: By permitting a void delegation of legislative power, was the Forest Reserve Act infringing the constitution?
Rule: No. the Forest Reserve Act was not contravening the constitution by permitting a void delegation of legislative power. According to the law, the Congress has the power to give to those who are to act upon what it has legislated and specified in its will under general provisions like “power to fulfill the details” by setting up administrative regulations and rules; their violations prompts punishment to the offenders in the form of fine or incarceration fixed by Congress, or penalties that the Congress has fixed or measured through the injuries inflicted (Hall, 2011).
Analysis: the judgments made by the lower courts were reversed by the United States Supreme Court after it found out that the offenders should not have been sustained. According to the Court, even though the Secretary was not able to formulate regulations and rules for any and each purpose, however, he had the ability to matters plainly specified and delegated by Congress. As such, the Congress defined the matters as to which the Secretary was permitted to regulate.
Conclusion: the court concluded that the secretary had been given the authority to control occupancy and utilization and to protect forests from being destroyed. A contravention of rational rules regulating the utilization and occupancy of the property was made a crime by Congress and not the Secretary.
Hall, D. E. (2011). Criminal Law and Procedure. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.