Adler et al. v. Board of Education of the City of New York
Decided on Mar. 3, 1952; 342 US 485


I. ISSUES II. CASE SUMMARY III. AMICI CURIAE IV. DECISION V. WIN OR LOSS?
I. ISSUES:

A. Issues Discussed:  Freedom of association, due process


B. Legal Question Presented:

Do the provisions of the Civil Service Law of New York, 3022 of the New York Education Law, and the rules of the Sate Board of Regent promulgated there under, abridge any right of free speech and assembly and do they violate the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment?
II. CASE SUMMARY:

A. Background:

"The Civil Service Law of New York, 12-a, makes ineligible for employment in any public school any member of any organization advocating the overthrow of the Government by force, violence or any unlawful means. Section 3022 of the Education Law, added by the Feinberg Law, requires the Board of Regents (1) to adopt and enforce rules for the removal of any employee who violates, or is ineligible under, 12-a, (2) to promulgate a list of organizations described in 12-a, and (3) to provide in its rules that membership in any organization so listed is prima facie evidence of disqualification for employment in the public schools. No organization may be so listed, and no person severed from or denied employment, except after a hearing and subject to judicial review.
 
In a declaratory judgment action, the Supreme Court of New York, Kings County, held that subdivision (c) of 12-a of the New York Civil Service Law, 3022 of the New York Education Law, and the rules of the State Board of Regents promulgated thereunder violated the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and enjoined action thereunder by the Board of Education of New York City. (...) The Appellate Division reversed."
 
On appeal the US Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Court of Appeals of New York.
B. Counsel of Record:
ACLU Side
(Petitioner/Appellant)
Opposing Side
(Respondent/Appellee)
Unavailable Unavailable
C. The Arguments:
ACLU Side
(Petitioner/Appellant)
Opposing Side
(Respondent/Appellee)
Unavailable Unavailable
III. AMICI CURIAE:
ACLU Side
(Petitioner/Appellant)
Opposing Side
(Respondent/Appellee)
Dorothy Kenyon, Raymond L. Wise and Herbert Monte Levy filed a brief for the American Civil Liberties Union, as amicus curiae, supporting appellants.

Osmond K. Fraenkel argued the cause for appellants. With him on the brief was Arthur Garfield Hays.
By special leave of Court, Wendell P. Brown, Solicitor General, argued the cause for the State of New York, as amicus curiae, urging affirmance. With him on the brief were Nathaniel L. Goldstein, Attorney General, and Ruth Kessler Toch, Assistant Attorney General.

Michael A. Castaldi argued the cause for appellee. With him on the brief were Denis M. Hurley, Seymour B. Quel, Daniel T. Scannell and Bernard Friedlander. 
IV. THE SUPREME COURT'S DECISION:

"1) [P]ersons employed or seeking employment in the public schools of the State of New York... may work for the school system upon the reasonable terms laid down by the proper authorities of New York. If they do not choose to work on such terms, they are at liberty to retain their beliefs and associations and go elsewhere. Has the State thus deprived them of any right to free speech or assembly? We think not.

2) Membership in a listed organization found to be within the statute and known by the member to be within the statute is a legislative finding that the member by his membership supports the thing the organization stands for, namely, the overthrow of government by unlawful means... Nor is there here a problem of procedural due process. The presumption is not conclusive but arises only in a hearing where the person against whom it may arise has full opportunity to rebut it."

The US Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Court of Appeals of New York.

Justice Vote: 3 Pro vs. 6 Con

  • Black, H. Pro (Wrote dissenting opinion)
  • Frankfurter, F. Pro (Wrote dissenting opinion)
  • Douglas, W. Pro (Wrote dissenting opinion)
  • Minton, s. Con (Wrote majority opinion)
  • Jackson, R. Con (Joined majority opinion)
  • Clark, T. Con (Joined majority opinion)
  • Vinson, F. Con (Joined majority opinion)
  • Reed, s. Con (Joined majority opinion)
  • Burton, H. Con (Joined majority opinion)
V. A WIN OR LOSS FOR THE ACLU?

The ACLU, as amicus curiae, urged reversal of the judgment of the Court of Appeals of New York; the Supreme Court affirmed in a 3-6 vote, giving the ACLU an apparent loss.