International Ladies Garment Workers Union v. Donnelly Garment Co

Decision Date16 May 1938
Docket NumberNo. 801,801
Citation304 U.S. 243,58 S.Ct. 875,82 L.Ed. 1316
PartiesINTERNATIONAL LADIES' GARMENT WORKERS' UNION et al. v. DONNELLY GARMENT CO. et al
CourtU.S. Supreme Court

Messrs. Frank P. Walsh and Jerome Walsh, both of Kansas City, Mo., for appellants.

Messrs. James A. Reed and William S. Hogsett, both of Kansas City, Mo., for appellees.

PER CURIAM.

This is a direct appeal to this Court from a decree of the District Court, three judges sitting, denying a motion to dismiss the complaint and granting an interlocutory injunction. The question arises whether such an appeal lies.

Appellants rely upon the Act of August 24, 1937, c. 754, 50 Stat. 751, 28 U.S.C.A. §§ 17, 349a, 380a and note, 401. Section 3 of that act, 28 U.S.C.A. § 380a, the full text of which is quoted in the margin,1 provides that 'No interlocutory or permanent injunction suspending or restraining the enforcement, operation, or execution of, or setting aside, in whole or in part, any Act of Congress upon the ground that such Act or any part thereof is repugnant to the Consti- tution of the United States' shall be granted by a District Court 'unless the application for the same' shall be heard and determined by three judges. When there is an application for such an injunction, three judges are to be con- vened and the hearing of the application is to be expedited. An appeal may be taken directly to this Court from a decree 'granting or denying, after notice and hearing, an interlocutory or permanent injunction in such case.'

We are of the opinion that the instant case does not fall within these provisions. This is not a suit to restrain the enforcement of an act of Congress, and no application was made for such an injunction.

This suit was brought on July 5, 1937, by the appellees, Donnelly Garment Company and Donnelly Garment Sales Company, to obtain an injunction restraining the appellants, International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, its officers and agents, from committing certain acts alleged to be in furtherance of a conspiracy in violation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, 15 U.S.C.A. §§ 1—7, 15 note, and the Clayton Act, 38 Stat. 730, 15 U.S.C. c. 1, § 12 et seq. The conduct sought to be restrained consisted of picketing, boycotting, and certain interferences with plaintiffs' business, their employees and customers. Appellee Donnelly Garment Workers' Union and its representatives were permitted to intervene and sought similar relief. Their petition in intervention alleged that the defendants (appellants) had not been and were not engaged in a labor dispute within the meaning of the Act of Congress of March 23, 1932, c. 90, 49 Stat. 70, known as the Norris-LaGuardia Act, 29 U.S.C.A. § 101 et seq., nor within the meaning of the Act of Congress of July 5, 1935, c. 372, 49 Stat. 449, known as the National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C.A. § 151 et seq., and that no labor dispute was involved in this litigation. They further stated that, 'if the actions and course of conduct of the defendants' were construed to be a 'labor dispute' within the meaning of those statutes, the latter would be unconstitutional, as so interpreted, because in contravention of the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States and of article 2, section 30, of the Constitution of the state of Missouri. By their amended bill of complaint, appellees, the original plaintiffs, made similar allegations as to the inapplicability of the Norris-LaGuardia Act and its invalidity if held applicable.

On the presentation of the bill, the District Judge granted a temporary restraining order enjoining the defendants' conduct of which complaint was made. A motion to dissolve the restraining order and to dismiss the complaint was denied on August 13, 1937. D.C., 20 F.Supp. 767. After the passage of the Act of August 24, 1937, the District Judge certified to the Attorney General that the constitutionality of the Norris-LaGuardia Act and of the National Labor Relations Act had been 'drawn in question.' On the request of the District Judge, a court of three judges was constituted. The motion of the defendants to dismiss the bill and to vacate the temporary restraining order, and the motion of the plaintiffs for an interlocutory injunction restraining the defendants from committing the alleged unlawful acts in pursuance of a conspiracy in violation of the Anti-Trust Acts, were then heard. The motion to dismiss was denied and the interlocutory injunction was granted as prayed. 21 F.Supp. 807.

There was no application before the District Court for an injunction restraining the enforcement of any act of Congress.In considering the application for an injunction restraining defendants from picketing, boycotting, etc., the District Court found that the ground of defense was the defendants' contention that the Norris-LaGuardia Act deprived the District Court of jurisdiction. The court held that that act had no application to the controversy, and that it was unnecessary to resolve the constitutional question presented as to its validity. 21 F.Supp. pages 811, 814.

The Act of August 24, 1937, carefully distinguishes between the different situations to which its provisions are addressed. Section 1, 28 U.S.C.A. § 401, applies 'whenever the constitutionality of any Act of Congress affecting the public interest is drawn in question' in any court of the United States in any suit or proceeding to which the United States, or its agency, officer, or employee, as such, is not a party. The fact that such a question is involved must be certified to the Attorney General and the United States must be permitted to intervene with all the rights of a party. To make that provision applicable it is enough that a question as to the constitutionality of an act of Congress is involved, however it may arise. The question may be raised by any party, and the section is not limited to cases where an injunction is sought to restrain the enforcement of the act. Apart from providing for intervention, and the right of the United States to present evidence and argument, section 1 does not require any change in procedure in the hearing of the cause or in relation to appeal.

Section 2, 28 U.S.C.A. § 349a, applies to a suit or proceeding in which the United States, or its agency, officer, or employee, as such, is a party, or in which the United States has intervened and in which 'the decision is against the constitutionality of any Act of Congress.' In that event, an appeal may be taken directly to this Court. That section applies, however the question of constitutionality may arise, provided the United States is or has become a party and the decision is against the validity of the act. That section does not require a court of three judges, and no provision is made for a direct appeal to this Court if the decision is in favor of the constitutionality of the act.

The provision in section 3, 28 U.S.C.A. § 380a, for a determination by three judges and for a direct appeal to this Court is limited to the particular class of cases there described. Section 3 does not provide for a case where the validity of an act of Congress is merely drawn in question, albeit that question be decided, but only for a case where there is an application for an interlocutory or permanent injunction to restrain the enforcement of an act of Congress. The careful choice of language in the different sections of the act points clearly to a distinction in categories. Had Congress intended the provision in section 3, for three judges and direct appeal, to apply whenever a question of the validity of an act of Congress became involved, Congress would naturally have used the familiar phrase 'drawn in question,' as in the first section of the act. While there are some variations in text, the provision in section 3 has a manifest analogy to that of section 266 of the Judicial Code, 28 U.S.C. § 380, 28 U.S.C.A. § 380, providing for three judges and a direct appeal to this court in case of an application for an injunction restraining the enforcement of a state statute by restraining the action of state officers. That provision is hinged on an application for injunction, and not on the mere drawing in question of the constitutionality of a state enactment. Compare Smith v. Wilson, 273 U.S. 388, 391, 47 S.Ct. 385, 386, 71 L.Ed. 699; Stratton v. St. Louis Southwestern Rwy. Co., 282 U.S. 10, 15, 51 S.Ct. 8, 75 L.Ed. 135.

The entire procedure prescribed in section 3 turns on the presentation of an application for an injunction to restrain the enforcement of a federal statute. It is when 'such application' is presented to a judge that the particiat ion of two other judges is to be requested. It is 'such application' which is not to be heard or determined before at least five days' notice to the Attorney General. The judge to whom 'the application is made' may grant a temporary restraining order, and the court 'at the time of hearing such application' may continue the temporary stay. And it is the hearing 'upon any such application for an interlocutory or permanent injunction' that is to be given precedence and expedited. Appeal is to be taken directly to this Court where the decree grants or denies 'an interlocutory or permanent injunction in such case.'

The contention of plaintiffs that the Norris-LaGuardia Act was not applicable to the conduct of defendants and would be...

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