60 F.Supp. 51 (D.Kan. 1945), 4821, Stapleton v. Mitchell

Docket Nº:4821, 4822, 4826, 4827.
Citation:60 F.Supp. 51
Case Date:March 05, 1945
Court:United States District Courts, 10th Circuit, District of Kansas

Page 51

60 F.Supp. 51 (D.Kan. 1945)



MITCHELL, Atty. Gen., et al.

McELROY et al.









Nos. 4821, 4822, 4826, 4827.

United States District Court, D. Kansas.

March 5, 1945

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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        Louis R. Gates, of Kansas City, Kan., for United Mine Workers.

        Clif Langsdale, of Kansas City, Mo., and P. W. Croker, of Kansas City, Kan., for Building and Construction Trades Council of Kansas City.

        Joseph A. Padway, Gen. Counsel, A.F. of L., of Washington, D.C., and James H. Barnes, of Kansas City, Kan., for American Federation of Labor.

        Lee Pressman, Gen. Counsel, C.I.O., and Eugene Cotton, Asst. Council, C.I.O., both of Washington, D.C., and Harry C. Clark, of Kansas City, Mo., for C.I.O. and C.I.O. Affiliated Unions.

        James H. Barnes, of Kansas City, Kan., and Harry C. Clark, of Kansas City, Mo., for Four Transportation Brotherhoods and I.T.U.

        A. B. Mitchell, Atty. Gen., of Kansas, Allen Meyers, Co. Atty., Shawnee County, of Topeka, Kan., Samuel M. Terbovich, Co. Atty., Wyandotte County, of Kansas City, Kan., and Clayton Brenner, Co. Atty., Johnson County, of Olathe, Kan., for defendant.

        Before HUXMAN and MURRAH, Circuit Judges, and RICE, District Judge.

        MURRAH, Circuit Judge.

        Each of these suits was brought by a national and international labor union and all of its integrated entities and affiliates, officers, agents and representatives, acting in both their individual and representative capacities, and certain non-affiliated individuals in their individual and representative capacities. The parties jointly and severally challenge the constitutionality of the 1943 Kansas Labor Law, Session Laws of 1943, c. 191, and seek a judgment enjoining the operation and enforcement of the Act, as applied to them individually and collectively, on the grounds that its very existence as a law imposes a previous restraint upon the exercise of the fundamental rights to free speech, press and assembly, guaranteed by the First Amendment, and protected against state abridgement by the due process clause of the Fourteenth; that the operation and enforcement of the law will deprive them, and each of them, of the equal protection of the law, impose involuntary servitude, and is in collision with the National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C.A. § 151 et seq., in the field of industrial relations affecting interstate commerce, and therefore cannot stand with it.

        The pleadings are studiously designed and the issues framed to effectively present the constitutional cause of everyone connected with, or engaged in self-organization for collective bargaining purposes, from the international and national union to the smallest union, and from the highest official of the international organization to the lowest worker, as well as non-members of a union, who are seeking to organize for collective bargaining purposes.

         Federal jurisdiction is laid in the allegations that the suit arises under the Constitution and laws of the United States, and that the value of the right involved exceeds $3,000, and upon the further and firmer ground that it is brought to redress the deprivation of the rights of free speech, press and assembly under color of state statute. Original jurisdiction is conferred by the Civil Rights Act, 8 U.S.C.A. § 43, and this suit is clearly within the adjudicatory power of the Federal courts without consideration of the question of diversity of citizenship or the amount in controversy. Hague v. C.I.O., 307 U.S. 496, 514, 59 S.Ct. 954, 83 L.Ed. 1423; Douglas v. City of Jeannette, 319 U.S. 157, 63 S.Ct. 877, 87 L.Ed. 1324. Because each petition prays for an interlocutory injunction, in addition to the prayer for an adjudication of unconstitutionality and permanent injunctive relief, the suits are cognizable by a three-judge court under Section 266 of the Judicial Code, 28 U.S.C.A. § 380, and in pursuance of the mandate of that statute this court was convened to hear and decide the issues presented. See Phillips v. United States, 312 U.S. 246, 61 S.Ct. 480, 85 L.Ed. 800; Query v. United States, 316 U.S. 486, 62 S.Ct. 1122, 86 L.Ed. 1616.

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The sole basis for the three-judge jurisdiction is the prayer for the interlocutory relief, but its jurisdiction once properly invoked is co-extensive and co-ordinate with the jurisdiction of a single judge in the trial of the controversy committed to it by the statute. Thus all the formal jurisdictional elements are present and it becomes the duty of the court to hear and decide the controversy.

         But, notwithstanding the authority of the court to hear and dispose of the cases, it is our duty to heed the repeated admonitions concerning the appropriate exercise of the jurisdiction thus conferred. Much confusion has arisen from the adjudicated cases bearing upon the appropriate exercise of Federal jurisdiction to enjoin the enforcement of state statutes as violative of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. See Penal Statutes by Declaratory Action, 52 Yale Journal, June 1943, by Edwin Borchard. In cases challenging the constitutionality of a state regulatory act as violative of the due process and equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment, it is said that this court is not warranted in interfering with the declared public policy of a state by injunctive process, unless it patently appears that each and every clause, sentence and paragraph in whatever manner and against whomever it may be made applicable, contravenes the Federal Constitution and that the operation of the statute will cause great and immediate loss to the complainant. Watson v. Buck, 313 U.S. 387, 61 S.Ct. 962, 85 L.Ed. 1416; Spielman Motor Sales Co. v. Dodge, 295 U.S. 89, 55 S.Ct. 678, 79 L.Ed. 1322; Beal v. Missouri Pacific R.R. Corporation, 312 U.S. 45, 61 S.Ct. 418, 85 L.Ed. 577; Douglas v. City of Jeannette, supra. And, we are not at liberty to nullify the act simply because some state official may make an unconstitutional application of it. Adequate redress for this type of grievance is provided elsewhere when it arises.

         It is noteworthy, however, that the 'doctrine of abstention' (Railroad Commission of Texas v. Pullman Co., 312 U.S. 496, 61 S.Ct. 643, 85 L.Ed. 971) was evolved in cases where property rights under the Fourteenth Amendment and not personal rights under the First were the subject of adjudication. Apparently the courts now make a distinction in the appropriate exercise of Federal jurisdiction where only the due process and equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment are involved, and those cases where the legislation is challenged because it collides with the fundamental principles of the First. 'Much of the vagueness of the due process clause disappears when the specific provisions of the First become its standard. ' West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624, 63 S.Ct. 1178, 1186, 87 L.Ed. 1628. The right of a state to regulate property rights as far as the due process clause is concerned includes the power to impose all the restrictions 'which a legislature may have a 'rational basis' for adopting. ' West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, supra. But, as Justice Jackson said in that case, freedom of speech, press and assembly 'may not be infringed on such slender grounds. They are susceptible of restriction only to prevent grave and immediate danger to interests which the state may lawfully protect. It is important to note that while it is the Fourteenth Amendment which bears directly upon the State, it is the more specific limiting principles of the First Amendment that finally govern this case. ' Schneider v. State, 308 U.S. 147, 161, 60 S.Ct. 146, 84 L.Ed. 155. Cf. Connolly v. Union Sewer Pipe Co., 184 U.S. 540, 558, 22 S.Ct. 431, 46 L.Ed. 679; Barbier v. Connolly, 113 U.S. 27, 5 S.Ct. 357, 28 L.Ed. 923.

        In other words the distinction is between a 'rational basis' in the property right cases arising under the Fourteenth Amendment alone and the 'clear and present danger' cases in which the Fourteenth Amendment is an instrument for transmitting human liberties guaranteed by the First. For example, the court had no difficulty in sustaining the three-judge court's jurisdiction to strike down the flag salute statute in the Barnette case, or the three-judge jurisdiction to invalidate a Louisiana statute which had for its purpose, as the court held, the licensing of the press by the imposition of a gross receipts tax for the privilege of engaging in the newspaper business. Grosjean v. American Press, 297 U.S. 233, 56 S.Ct. 444, 80 L.Ed. 660. In Douglas v. City of Jeanette, supra, the Supreme Court sustained federal jurisdiction, but withheld the injunctive hand of the court because there was no finding of immediately threatened irreparable injury in the circumstances, and because a decision of the Supreme Court

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that day in another case (Murdock v. Pennsylvania, 319 U.S. 105, 63 S.Ct. 870, 87 L.Ed. 1292, 146 A.L.R. 82) gave the petitioners all the relief they sought in the three-judge court. See also Hague v. C.I.O., supra, 307 U.S.at pages 501, 502, 59 S.Ct. 954, 83 L.Ed. 1423.

         In sum, it seems fairly plain that although the state courts are the preferable forum for the adjudication of the question whether a state statute offends against the Federal Constitution on the theory that state courts equally with the Federal courts are charged with the duty of safeguarding constitutional rights, and since they are the sole judge of the meaning and import of a state statute they should be the first judge of whether state law transcends rights protected by the Federal Constitution. But, where as here,...

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