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A very typical case, and a very important one, covering a very important issue, involves the provision of the Tariff Act for bottles produced by automatic machines. That case was decided, and it went to the court of appeals and was affirmed. Then they tried a new case, claiming that the second machine was similar to the first machine. We held that it was not. That case went to the court of appeals and they, by a divided court, reversed the decision. Now a third case will be tried, and in this case a very unique feature has appeared, in that a motion picture has been introduced in evidence, showing the actual operation of the machine, which it is claimed is an automatic machine.
There is a great deal of money involved in some of these cases. That is why the issues are so important and tried so continuously and so effectively.
For example, we have now a case involving shark-liver oil, where there was about 3,100 pages of testimony taken at about 10 ports throughout the United States involving shark-liver oil imported from Canada. That is the vitamin A oil.
Senator McCARRAN. Do you have examiners or triers or masters, so to speak?
PANEL OF JUDGES EXAMINES CASES Judge OLIVER. No, sir; we do not handle them that way. We sit in New York. Our nine judges are divided into three divisions of three judges each.
Senator McCARRAN. Panels?
Judge OLIVER. Yes; three panels of three judges each. Then all of the items in the Tariff Act, the various schedules, are assigned to the three divisions. In other words, the wool schedule, the cotton schedule, and the steel schedule, and so forth, will be assigned to different divisions. Then those divisions have the schedules broken up so that each judge has control of certain schedules, with which he becomes very familiar.
Protest cases, which are protests against the classification of the collector, are tried before a banc of three judges. If one is on circuit we stipulate that he may join in the decision.
Now, reappraisement cases have nothing at all to do with classification, but have to do with value only, that is, the reappraisement of merchandise. Those are tried before a single judge, and then appeals from that are taken to a division of three judges of which the trial judge is not a member and from there to the United States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals.
BREAKDOWN OF ADDITIONAL AMOUNT REQUESTED
We are asking here for an additional $21,000, Mr. Chairman, of which $6,500 is the cost of within-grade advancements for the members of the staff.
Senator McCARRAN. $6,500?
Judge OLIVER. The balance is for the two stenographers and the two transcriptionists, or typists, who would be dictaphone operators. We are trying to hasten the work of the court by having two dicta
phone operators with their equipment to transcribe the notes of some of our reporters.
DICTAPHONE SYSTEM OF COURT REPORTERS
You see, the ordinary contracting reporter will take testimony and at the end of the day will dictate that testimony to dictaphone cylinders, that being the testimony they have just taken in their notebook or on their stenograph machine. That is then transcribed by a third party.
Now, in our court the transcription is done by the court reporter who takes the testimony. The weakness in the system is that the court reporters must go out on circuit. Now, let me say that we divide the country up into dockets. The coast docket takes in all the way from Seattle to San Diego and that may involve a period of from 5 to 6 weeks. There will be one judge, a representative of the Assistant Attorney General in charge of Customs, and a reporter on that docket.
Now, while the reporter is out there taking notes on those trials, those notes remain static. They are not being transcribed. There is no work being done on them. Then he comes back with a good many notes from the circuit, and he must begin where he left off in his job of transcribing.
Senator McCARRAN. How would that be done under the new system?
Judge Oliver. Well, he would have a backog of notes of all sorts. He could dictate them. He could dictate maybe 1,000 or 1,500 pages of testimony to these dictaphone operators, who would then be transcribing those notes while he is out on the circuit or when he is in court here. You see, even when he is at home, he is assigned to one of the three divisions when they are holding court in New York. That just happens to be one of those little weaknesses that we thought we could help a lot by having these dictaphone operators.
We need the two stenographers. I say with all sincerity, Mr. Chairman, that I think nobody is more economy conscious than those of us in this court. On several occasions, we have turned back money at the end of the year that we have not used. Of course there are those that may say that indicates that we do not need the money. But we do not go ahead and find ways of spending the money at the end of the period.
Senator McCARRAN. Do you collect any money at all from judgments?
TYPE OF PRACTICE BEFORE CUSTOMS COURT Judge OLIVER. We do not collect any money at all, for this reason: Ours is a peculiar type of practice. All of the actions in our court are actions against the collector: that is, I should say that 999,00 percent of the actions are brought by importers who are seeking, through our court and through our litigation, to "recover back"-in fact, that is the term they use -- from the Government moneys claimed to have been illegally taken from them on their merchandise.
Now, the other peculiar feature of it is that when the merchandise comes in and a dispute arises, the importer must pay to the Government what the Government claims is the correct amount due the Gorernment. He must pay that over. The Government gets the money.
Then he gets his goods and puts them into process or into the commerce of the United States.
Senator McCARRAN. He pays no fees for filing his case?
Judge OLIVER. No; he pays no fees and there are no court costs to the litigant.
Senator McCARRAN. If he loses, there are no court costs?
Senator McCARRAN. Then he might just as well try his case. He might just as well try it—what is the difference? It does not cost him anything.
Judge OLIVER. He has to pay his lawyer, of course. He cannot bring senseless litigation. If he did, it would be thrown out very quickly. There must be some basis for it.
The other point I want to make is that when he gets his money back, if he succeeds, the Government pays no interest on it. In other words, the Government may have hundreds of millions of dollars that it has collected as customs, as to which there may be litigation, and if the importers realize any of that money, they get it back at the face amount, and the Government, for the use of that money, has paid no interest. That is a very important item.
Senator McCARRAN. That is one of the first cases I know about where there was no interest paid by the Government.
Judge OLIVER. The Government pays no interest there.
Senator McCARRAN. Then this is a service rendered where the litigant is in no way hazarding anything? They do not even hazard the fees that an ordinary litigant has to pay to a court when he files his litigation.
Judge OLIVER. That is true, Mr. Chairman. There are, of course, legal fees, and the costs of investigation which, frequently amount to a great deal of money. Examples would be where they have to send abroad for depositions or examining witnesses. The importer in such cases pays for that. So he will not ordinarily bring an action unless he has a theory or his lawyer has a theory that he may succeed.
Senator McCARRAN. Now, as regards this increase that you are asking for, is that all you care to say in justification of it?
Judge OLIVER. Yes, sir. We need them. We are asking for them, and we hope we are going to get these people we are requesting.
1952 BUDGET ESTIMATE
Senator McCARRAN. And you are asking for $438,465 for fiscal 1952?
Judge OLIVER. That is correct, sir.
Senator McCARRAN. Now, will it remain at that figure from year to year in the future?
Judge OLIVER. Well, we hope so. There may be an increase, of course, over which we will have no control. There will be some automatic increases.
Senator McCARRAN. $6,500 of this $21,000 is due to automatic increases?
Judge OLIVER. That is right.
Mr. Chairman, I think I know what you are getting at. We have nothing at the moment by way of prospective application. If we need one extra stenographer, we will ask for it. If we do not need
it, we will not ask for it. Here we are requesting two stenographers and two transcribers. If any question arises as to that request, we would like to have the two stenographers before the transcribers.
Senator McCARRAN. Do the reporters use the dictaphone machines to dictate on?
Judge OLIVER. No; we have no machines to dictate on. This request provides for the purchase of such machines.
Senator McCARRAN. It provides for the purchase of the machines that you need?
Judge Oliver. It would take care of the dictaphones, the transscribing machines and the other necessary items.
Senator McCARRAN. Ordinarily, one of your stenographers could take it off the machines?
Judge OLIVER. Well, they might be able to. It is a specialized line. I mean, the dictaphone operators are supposed to be specialists. I don't know whether you have had any experience with that, Mr. Chairman.
Senator McCARRAN. Yes; I have had some experience with that. I have quite a number in my office, and they can all take it off the machines.
Judge OLIVER. I imagine they could, after a little experience in getting used to the voices, you know, and getting used to the speed and so forth.
Senator McCARRAN. All right. Thank you, Judge.
COURT OF CLAIMS
STATEMENT OF HON. MARVIN JONES, CHIEF JUDGE, COURT OF
CLAIMS, ACCOMPANIED BY HON. BENJAMIN LITTLETON, JUDGE, HON. EVAN HOWELL, JUDGE, AND WILLARD HART, CLERK OF THE COURT
SALARIES AND EXPENSES
1952 BUDGET ESTIMATE
Senator McCARRAN. I note that you are asking for an appropriation of $590,000 for salaries and expenses, Court of Claims, which is $15,000 more than the amount you have for the current fiscal year.
JUSTIFICATION I will insert pages 47 and 48 of the justifications in the record at this point.
(The material referred to is as follows:)
SALARIES AND EXPENSES, COURT OF CLAIMS
Senator McCarran. Now, Judge Jones, will you tell us why you need this additional $15,000?
Judge Jones. I think $3,300 of that amount is to provide for withingrade promotions.
Senator McCARRAN. Are you certain about that? Will somebody give us the correct figures?
Mr. HART. The amount is $3,300.
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES
Senator McCARRAN. How many personnel have you?
Mr. Hart. We have eleven Commissioners. We do not employ