or in political campaigns, and by that is meant activities particularly defined by the Civil Service Commission (Section 15 of the Hatch Act). In the debates leading up to the passage of the Hatch Act much was said about the limitation on the constitutional rights of those employees who were made subject to the Act. Most that was said was by those who considered the legislation to be an infringement of such rights. There can, therefore, be no doubt that it was the considered judgment of the Congress and of the President that the legislation was not such an infringement.
To say that the Congress has not the power to pass this legislation in the public interest, and in the interest of the employees of the Government whose tenure it is seeking to protect, is to say that it is not rational for the Congress to conclude that it cannot take political activity out of the employment, promotion and dismissal of Government employees without at the same time taking Government employees out of political activity. This is a question for the Congress, and not the courts, to decide.
The plaintiffs challenge the legislation as being unreasonably discriminatory between the employees who come within the Act and certain employees excepted therefrom. First, the employees covered by the Act as compared with persons whose compensation is paid from appropriation for the office of the President, heads and assistant heads of Executive Departments, officers who are appointed by the President by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, and who determine policies to be pursued by the United States in its relation with foreign powers, or in the Nationwide administration of Federal laws. It is perfectly obvious that these classes of employees are in very large measure political. No one supposes that they would not change with the changing of administrations. There is no need nor desire to protect them from political activity, and hence there is no corresponding occasion to restrict such activity on their part.
Section 18 of the Act provides that political activity shall not include certain elections where there are no candidates of a party whose electors have been voted for in a presidential election, nor an election in connection with any question which is not specifically identified with a national or state political party. Thus restriction is eliminated as to elections relating to constitutional amendments, referendums, approval of municipal ordinances and others of a similar character.
An amendment to the Act, which has application to certain state employees where the funds supporting the activity or institution with which they are connected are supplied in whole or in part by the Federal Government, exempts "any officer or employee of any educational or research institution, establishment, agency, or system which is supported in whole or in part by any State or political subdivision thereof, or by the District of Columbia or by any Territory or Territorial possession of the United States; or by any recognized religious, philanthropic, or cultural organization." 18 U.S.C.A. § 61u. It is clear that this exemption deals primarily with teachers, though no doubt other types of work come within such exempting provisions. To deny to Congress the power to make this classification is to say that the Congress may not rationally conclude that, while it should lay restrictions upon the political activity of Government employees generally, it should not do so where the duties of their work are such as to require acts which come within the general interdiction. Certainly the classification is not unreasonable viewed in the light of the objective of the legislation.
A further exemption by amendment relates to the participation of Federal employees residing in municipalities or other political subdivisions adjacent to the District of Columbia insofar as local campaigns and elections are concerned. The reasonableness of these classifications seem too obvious to require discussion to show that there is no arbitrary discrimination such as would invalidate the legislation.
All in all, we can see no sound reason for a conclusion that the second sentence of Section 9(a) of the Hatch Act is repugnant to the Constitution.
The motion of the defendants for summary judgment should be sustained and the complaint dismissed.
© 1992-2004 VersusLaw Inc.