Dunlop v. Bachowski 8212 466, No. 74

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtBRENNAN
PartiesJohn T. DUNLOP, Secretary of Labor, Petitioner, v. Walter BACHOWSKI et al. —466
Docket NumberNo. 74
Decision Date02 June 1975

421 U.S. 560
95 S.Ct. 1851
44 L.Ed.2d 377
John T. DUNLOP, Secretary of Labor, Petitioner,

v.

Walter BACHOWSKI et al.

No. 74—466.
Argued April 21, 1975.
Decided June 2, 1975.

Syllabus

After being defeated for office by the incumbent in a union election, and after exhausting his union remedies, respondent candidate (hereafter respondent) filed a complaint with petitioner, the Secretary of Labor, alleging violations of § 401 of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (LMRDA) and thus invoking § 402(b) of the Act, which requires the Secretary to investigate the complaint and decide whether to bring a civil action to set aside the election. The Secretary, upon investigation, decided that such an action was not warranted and so advised respondent, who then filed an action to have the Secretary's decision declared arbitrary and capricious and to order him to file suit to set aside the election. The District Court dismissed the action on the ground that it lacked 'authority' to afford the relief sought. The Court of Appeals reversed and remanded, holding that the District Court had jurisdiction of the action under 28 U.S.C. § 1337 as a case arising under an Act of Congress regulating commerce (the LMRDA); that the Administrative procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. §§ 702, 704, subjected the Secretary's decision to judicial review as 'final agency action for which there is no other adequate remedy in a court'; that his decision was not agency action pursuant to 'statutes (that) preclude judicial review; or . . . agency action (that) is committed to agency discretion by law,' excepted by 5 U.S.C. § 701(a) from judicial review; and that the scope of judicial review—governed by 5 U.S.C. § 706(2)(A) 'to ensure that the Secretary's actions are not arbitrary, capricious, or an abuse of discretion'—entitled respondent 'to a sufficiently specific statement of the factors upon which the Secretary relied in reaching his decision . . . so that (respondent) may have information concerning the allegations contained in his complaint.' Held: While 28 U.S.C. § 1337 confers jurisdiction upon the District Court to entertain respondent's suit, and the Secretary's decision against suit is not excepted from judicial review by 5 U.S.C. § 701(a), but by virtue of

Page 561

§§ 702 and 704 is reviewable under the standard specified in § 706(2)(A), the Court of Appeals erred insofar as it construed § 706(2)(A) to authorize the District Court to allow respondent a trial-type inquiry into the factual bases for the Secretary's decision. Pp. 566-577.

(a) Absent an express prohibition in the LMRDA against judicial review of the Secretary's decision, the Secretary bears the heavy burden of overcoming the strong presumption that Congress did not mean to prohibit all judicial review of his dicision, a presumption that the Secretary failed to overcome in this case. P. 567.

(b) However, a congressional purpose narrowly to limit the scope of judicial review of the Secretary's decision must be inferred in order to fulfill the statutory objectives. P. 568.

(c) Since the LMRDA relies upon the Secretary's knowledge and discretion in determining both the probable violation and the probable effect of a violation on the election's outcome, the reviewing court is not authorized to substitute its judgment for the Secretary's decision not to bring suit, but to enable the court intelligently to review the Secretary's determination, the Secretary must provide the court and the complaining union member with a statement of the supporting reasons. Pp. 568-572.

(d) The reviewing court should confine itself to examining the reasons statement and determining whethr the statement, without more, shows that the Secretary's decision is so irrational as to be arbitrary and capricious, and the court's review may not extend to an adversary trial of a complaining union member's challenges to the factual bases for the Secretary's decision. Pp. 572-574.

(e) If the District Court determines that the Secretary's reasons statement adequately demonstrates that his decision against suit is not contrary to law, the complaining union member's suit fails and should be dismissed, whereas if the District Court determines that the statement on its face compels the conclusion that the Secretary's decision not to sue is so irrational as to be arbitrary and capricious, it is assumed that the Secretary would proceed appropriately without the coercion of a court order. Pp. 574-576.

3. Cir., 502 F.2d 79, reversed and remanded.

Page 562

Mark L. Evans, Washington, D.C., for petitioner.

Michael H. Gottesman, Washington, D.C., for the United Steelworkers of America.

Joseph L. Rauh, Jr., Washington, D.C., for respondent.

Mr. Justice BRENNAN delivered the opinion of the Court.

On February 13, 1973, the United Steelworkers of America (USWA) held district officer elections in its several districts. Respondent Bachowski (hereinafter respondent) was defeated by the incumbent in the election for that office in District 20.1 After exhausting his remedies within USWA, respondent filed a timely complaint with petitioner, the Secretary of Labor, alleging violations of § 401 of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (LMRDA), 73 Stat. 532, 29 U.S.C. § 481, thus invoking 29 U.S.C. §§ 482(a), (b) which require that the Secretary investigate the complaint and

Page 563

decide whether to bring a civil action to set aside the election.2 Similar complaints were filed respecting five other district elections. After completing his investigations, the Secretary filed civil actions to set aside the elections in only two districts. With respect to the election in District 20, he advised respondent by letter dated November 7, 1973, that '(b)ased on the investigative findings, it has been determined . . . that civil action to set aside the challenged election is not warranted.'

On November 7, 1973, respondent filed this action against the Secretary and USWA in the District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.3 The comp-

Page 564

laint asked that, among other relief, 'the Court declare the actions of the Defendant Secretary to be arbitrary and capricious and order him to file suit to set aside the aforesaid election.' The District Court conducted a hearing on November 8, and after argument on the question of reviewability of the Secretary's decision, concluded that the court lacked 'authority' to find that the action was capricious and to order him to file suit. Civil Action No. 73—0954, W D Pa., Doc. 9, p. 27. The hearing was followed by an order dated November 12, dismissing the suit.4 The Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit reversed, 502 F.2d 79 (1974).

The Court of Appeals held, first, that the District Court had jurisdiction of respondent's suit under 28 U.S.C. § 1337 as a case arising under an Act of Congress regulating commerce, the LMRDA, 502 F.2d, at 82—83; second, that the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. § 702 and 704, subjected the Secretary's decision to judicial review as 'final agency action for which there is no other adequate remedy in a court,' § 704, and that his decision was not, as the Secretary maintained, agency action pursuant to '(1) statutes (that) preclude judicial review; or (2) agency action (that) is committed to agency discretion by law,' excepted by § 701(a) from judicial review, 502 F.2d, at 83—88;5 and, third, that the scope of judicial

Page 565

review—governed by § 706(2)(A), 'to ensure that the Secretary's actions are not arbitrary, capricious, or an abuse of discretion,' 502 F.2d, at 90—entitled respondent, who sought 'to challenge the factual basis for (the Secretary's) conclusion either that no violations occurred or that they did not affect the outcome of the election,' id., at 89, 'to a sufficiently specific statement of the factors upon which the Secretary relied in reaching his decision . . . so that (respondent) may have information concerning the allegations contained in his complaint.' Id., at 90.6 We granted certiorari, sub nom. Brennan v. Bachowski, 419 U.S. 1068, 95 S.Ct. 654, 42 L.Ed.2d 663 (1974).

Page 566

[1-3] We agree that 28 U.S.C. § 1337 confers jurisdiction upon the District Court to entertain respondent's suit, and that the Secretary's decision not to sue is not excepted from judicial review by 5 U.S.C. § 701(a); rather, §§ 702 and 704 subject the Secretary's decision to judicial review under the standard specified in § 706(2)(A). We hold, however, that the Court of Appeals erred insofar as its opinion construes § 706(2)(A) to authorize a trial-type inquiry into the factual bases of the Secretary's conclusion that no violations occurred affecting the outcome of the election. We accordingly reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals insofar as it directs further proceedings on remand consistent with the opinion of that court, and direct the entry of a new judgment ordering that the proceedings on remand be consistent with this opinion of this Court.

I

The LMRDA contains no provision that explicitly prohibits judicial reveiw of the decision of the Secretary not to bring a civil action against the union to set aside an allegedly invalid election. There is no such prohibition in 29 U.S.C. § 483. That section states that '(t)he remedy provided by this subchapter for challenging an election already conducted shall be exclusive.' Certain LMRDA provisions concerning pre-election conduct, 29 U.S.C. §§ 411—413 and 481(c), are enforceable in suits brought by individual union members. Provisions concerning the conduct of the election itself, however, may be enforced only according to the post-election procedures specified in 29 U.S.C. § 482. Section 483 is thus not a prohibition against judicial review but simply

Page 567

underscores the exclusivity of the § 482 procedures in post-election cases.

In the absence of an express prohibition in the LMRDA, the Secretary,...

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401 practice notes
  • Doe v. U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement, 19-cv-8892 (AJN)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • 28 Septiembre 2020
    ...the strong presumption that Congress did not mean to prohibit all judicial review of [its] decision.’ " Id. (quoting Dunlop v. Bachowski , 421 U.S. 560, 567, 95 S.Ct. 1851, 44 L.Ed.2d 377 (1975) ). But this presumption is subject to some qualification. First, Section 701(a)(2) provides that......
  • Evangelical Lutheran Church in America v. Immigration and Naturalization Service, Civil Action 02-01297 (HHK) (D. D.C. 10/30/2003), Civil Action 02-01297 (HHK).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • 30 Octubre 2003
    ...acts. INS v. St. Cyr, 533 U.S. 289, 298-99 (2001); McNary v. Haitian Refugee Ctr., Inc., 498 U.S. 479, 498 (1991); Dunlop v. Bachowshi, 421 U.S. 560, 567 (1975). One may argue, then, by including the heading "Judicial Review of Orders of Removal," Congress failed to speak clearly and theref......
  • National Labor Relations Board v. United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Local 23, AFL-CIO
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 14 Diciembre 1987
    ...Southern R. Co. v. Seaboard Allied Milling Corp., 442 U.S. 444, 462, 99 S.Ct. 2388, 2398, 60 L.Ed.2d 1017 (1979); Dunlop v. Bachowski, 421 U.S. 560, 567, 95 S.Ct. 1851, 1857, 44 L.Ed.2d 377 (1975). In the absence here of statutory language expressly precluding APA review, the Court must exa......
  • Arnow v. U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Com'n, No. 87-1732
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • 3 Febrero 1989
    ...where the presumption adequately was rebutted by a petitioner, the Chaney Court noted the earlier decision in Dunlop v. Bachowski, 421 U.S. 560, 95 S.Ct. 1851, 44 L.Ed.2d 377 (1975) (dispute under Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA), 29 U.S.C. Sec. 481 et seq., requesting ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
398 cases
  • Doe v. U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement, 19-cv-8892 (AJN)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • 28 Septiembre 2020
    ...the strong presumption that Congress did not mean to prohibit all judicial review of [its] decision.’ " Id. (quoting Dunlop v. Bachowski , 421 U.S. 560, 567, 95 S.Ct. 1851, 44 L.Ed.2d 377 (1975) ). But this presumption is subject to some qualification. First, Section 701(a)(2) provides that......
  • Evangelical Lutheran Church in America v. Immigration and Naturalization Service, Civil Action 02-01297 (HHK) (D. D.C. 10/30/2003), Civil Action 02-01297 (HHK).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • 30 Octubre 2003
    ...acts. INS v. St. Cyr, 533 U.S. 289, 298-99 (2001); McNary v. Haitian Refugee Ctr., Inc., 498 U.S. 479, 498 (1991); Dunlop v. Bachowshi, 421 U.S. 560, 567 (1975). One may argue, then, by including the heading "Judicial Review of Orders of Removal," Congress failed to speak clearly and theref......
  • National Labor Relations Board v. United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Local 23, AFL-CIO
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 14 Diciembre 1987
    ...Southern R. Co. v. Seaboard Allied Milling Corp., 442 U.S. 444, 462, 99 S.Ct. 2388, 2398, 60 L.Ed.2d 1017 (1979); Dunlop v. Bachowski, 421 U.S. 560, 567, 95 S.Ct. 1851, 1857, 44 L.Ed.2d 377 (1975). In the absence here of statutory language expressly precluding APA review, the Court must exa......
  • Arnow v. U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Com'n, No. 87-1732
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • 3 Febrero 1989
    ...where the presumption adequately was rebutted by a petitioner, the Chaney Court noted the earlier decision in Dunlop v. Bachowski, 421 U.S. 560, 95 S.Ct. 1851, 44 L.Ed.2d 377 (1975) (dispute under Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA), 29 U.S.C. Sec. 481 et seq., requesting ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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