§§ 851, 861, 863. As the two World Wars created several million veterans, the result has been that the vast majority of Government employees have at least a partial security of tenure and are protected from dismissal except under certain specified conditions, either by virtue of the Civil Service Act or the Veterans' Preference Act, or both. It must be emphasized, however, that except as otherwise provided by Act of Congress, every Government employee is subject to removal from office at the will of the Executive.
The Act of August 26, 1950, 5 U.S.C.A. § 22-1, is in effect a limitation on the Civil Service Act and the Veterans' Preference Act, and withdraws the protection of these two statutes or any other Act of Congress from any officer or employee whose removal is deemed necessary in the interests of national security. This conclusion is rendered clear beyond peradventure of a doubt by the emphatic introductory clause reading: 'Notwithstanding the provisions of section 652 of this title [i. e., the Civil Service Act] or the provisions of any other law [i. e., the Veterans' Preference Act], * * *'. Consequently under the Act of 1950, as extended by Executive Order to other Government departments and agencies, any officer or employee of the Executive branch of the Government is subject to removal in the absolute discretion of the head of his department or agency, when deemed necessary in the interests of national security. The rights of the officer or employee in question are safeguarded by requiring the head of the agency to follow a specified procedure before the removal becomes final.
We may now proceed to a consideration of the specific objections raised by the plaintiff to the legality of the action of which he complains. First, it is urged that the Act of August 26, 1950, should be construed as being limited to those employees who are 'security risks' and as not applicable to employees charged with disloyalty, as was true of the plaintiff. There is manifestly no basis for this contention in the plain, unambiguous wording of the statute. The Act does not refer either to employees who are disloyal, or to employees who are security risks. It authorizes the removal of any employee 'when deemed necessary in the interests of the national security'. Obviously, this comprehensive phraseology is broad enough to cover both disloyal employees and employees who are security risks. The statute makes no distinction between the two.
Plaintiff's counsel seek to support their argument by recourse to the Committee reports concerning this legislation, S.Rept. No. 2158 and H.Rept. No. 2330, 81st Cong. 2d Sess., U.S.Code Congressional Service, 1950, Vol. 2, p. 3278 et seq. It is, of course, the duty of the courts in construing and applying a statute to endeavor to ascertain the intent of the legislative body. If the phraseology of the Act is obscure or ambiguous, the Committee reports are the primary source to which recourse should be had in order to determine the intent of the Congress. If the language of the statute is clear, however, such resort is not necessary. Even if, however, the Committee reports are consulted in this instance, it will be found that they do not sustain the plaintiff's contention. On the contrary, they seem to support the Government's theory that the intent of the Congress was twofold: first, to supply legislative authority for a prior Executive Order issued by the President creating a procedure for the removal of disloyal employees; and second, to extend the power of the President in order to cover employees who are security risks, though not disloyal. Both classes of employees are mentioned in the Committee reports. The Reports state that it is intended that the President's loyalty program should be continued and that the bill was concerned further with the problem of dealing with those Federal employees, who, although loyal, are so careless as to jeopardize the national security.
The construction of the Act urged by the plaintiff would lead to an absurd result. Its effect would be to create legislative authority for the removal of employees who are security risks, but not employees who are disloyal. Manifestly, such an illogical outcome could not have been within the contemplation of the Congress. Counsel for the plaintiff seem to be laboring under the notion, which the court deems fallacious, that a disloyal employee constitutes a danger to internal security only if he holds what is denominated as a sensitive position, namely, a position in which he has access to secret information or secret documents. This is far too limited a view of the potential danger from disloyal employees. For example, conceivably it is within the realm of possible contemplation that an employee connected with public water works is in a position in time of emergency to do something that may harm the water supply of the community. Likewise, the actions of a disloyal Food and Drug Inspector may impair the public health. Examples might be multiplied ad infinitum. In fact the Committee Reports unequivocally state that 'Disloyal persons should not be permitted to be employed in the Federal service under any circumstances. They are not entitled to Federal employment of any kind.'
It is further argued that the Executive Order of the President is beyond the scope of the statute because instead of enumerating by name the specific agencies that are deemed sensitive, the Order extends the provisions of the Act of 1950 to all Government departments and agencies without referring to them by title. Obviously, if the Executive Order listed every Government agency separately, this objection would have no foundation. Surely, the action of the President in blanketing all Government departments and agencies under the Act in so many words, instead of listing each of them, one by one, does not contravene the power conferred upon him. It must be noted in this connection that the Executive Order contains an express finding that 'the interests of the national security require that all persons privileged to be employed in the departments and agencies of the Government shall be reliable, trustworthy, of good conduct and character, and of complete and unswerving loyalty to the United States; * * *.'
Again it is further contended in behalf of the plaintiff that the Executive Order transgresses the Veterans' Preference Act, in that it does not provide for the procedure prescribed in that statute. Obviously, however, the Act of 1950, which was enacted subsequently to the Veterans' Preference Act, supersedes the latter pro tanto insofar as the two are inconsistent. The Act of 1950 created an exception from the Veterans' Preference Act for the employees covered by the latter, as has already been explained.
It is finally objected in behalf of the plaintiff that the procedure prescribed in Mulligan v. Andrews, 93 U.S.App.D.C. 375, 211 F.2d 28, was not followed. That case, however, was decided under the Civil Service Act and, therefore, is not applicable here.
The court concludes that Executive Order 10450 is valid and that the removal of the plaintiff from office is not subject to attack.
The plaintiff's motion for judgment on the pleadings is denied. The motion of the defendants for judgment on the pleadings is granted.