Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Schneiderman v. United States case brief

Schneiderman v. United States case brief summary
330 U.S. 118 (1943)

Appellant federal employees challenged the decision of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, which dismissed their complaint and granted summary judgment to appellees, members of the Civil Service Commission. Federal employees had filed suit to enjoin the members of the commission from enforcing § 9(a) of the Hatch Act, 18 U.S.C.S. § 61h, contending that it was unconstitutional.

Federal employees contended that § 9(a) of the Hatch Act, which prohibited them from taking an active part in political management or political campaigns, violated their rights under the First, Fifth, Ninth, and Tenth Amendments.


  • First, the Court held that the 60-day docketing requirement of 28 U.S.C.S. § 380a did not limit its power to hear the appeal because it could permit an extension of time when large records were involved. 
  • Second, the Court held that the federal employees who had not yet engaged in the activities prohibited by § 9(a) did not state a cognizable controversy because they sought an advisory opinion on broad claims of constitutional rights. 
  • Therefore, the district court erred in hearing the claims of those employees. 
  • Third, although the federal employee who had been charged by the commission with political activity presented matters appropriate for judicial determination, the Court held that a breach of the Hatch Act and Civil Service Rule 1 could, without violating the Constitution, be made the basis for disciplinary action. 
  • Section 9(a) was only directed at partisan political activity and its application to all federal employees was justified.

The Court affirmed the judgment of the district court dismissing federal employee's claims.

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