United Public Workers v. Mitchell

330 U.S. 75 (1947)


The present appellants sought an injunction before a statutory three-judge district court of the District of Columbia against appellees, members of the United States Civil Service Commission to prohibit them from enforcing against petitioners the provisions of the second sentence of 9(a) of the Hatch Act for the reason that the sentence is repugnant to the Constitution of the United States. A declaratory judgment of the unconstitutionality of the sentence was also sought. The sentence referred to reads, 'No officer or employee in the executive branch of the Federal Government ... shall take any active part in political management or political campaigns.' It is alleged that appellants desire to engage in acts of political management and political campaigns. None of the appellants, except George P. Poole, has violated the provisions of the Hatch Act. Defendants moved to dismiss the complaint for lack of a justiciable case or controversy. The District Court determined that each of these individual appellants had an interest in their claimed privilege of engaging in political activities, sufficient to give them a right to maintain the suit. The District Court further determined that the questioned provision of the Hatch Act was valid and that the complaint, therefore, failed to state a cause of action. It accordingly dismissed the complaint and granted summary judgment to defendants.