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Ashwander v. Tennessee Valley Authority

Significance, Brandeis Proposes "ashwander Rules", Louis Brandeis


George Ashwander


Tennessee Valley Authority

Petitioner's Claim

That the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) was not a legitimate federal agency, and that it did not have the authority to sell the electrical power that was a by-product of its dam construction.

Chief Lawyers for Petitioner

Forney Johnston, James M. Beck

Chief Lawyers for Respondent

John Lord O'Brian, Stanley F. Reed

Justices for the Court

Pierce Butler, Charles Evans Hughes (writing for the Court), James Clark McReynolds, Owen Josephus Roberts, Harlan Fiske Stone, George Sutherland, Willis Van Devanter

Justices Dissenting

Louis D. Brandeis, Benjamin N. Cardozo


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

17 February 1936


Legislation establishing the TVA was upheld by a 8-1 vote, as was its right to sell electrical power.

Related Cases

  • Pollock v. Farmers' Loan & Trust Company, 157 U.S. 429 (1895).
  • Gall v. Exxon Corp., 418 F.Supp. 508 (1976).
  • LaShawn A. v. Barry, 69 F.3d 556 (1995).


Edward Frank Magill. Great Lives From History. Salem Press, 1987.

Further Readings

  • Hall, Kermit L. The Supreme Court and Judicial Review in American History. Washington, DC: American Historical Association, 1985.
  • Maidment, R. A. The Judicial Response to the New Deal: The U.S. Supreme Court and Economic Regulation, 1934-1936. Manchester, NY: Manchester University Press, 1991.
  • Murphy, Walter, William Harris, and James Fleming. Constitutional Interpretation. Mineola, NY: Foundation Press, 1986.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1918 to 1940