William Truax v. Mike Raich

Decision Date01 November 1915
Docket NumberNo. 361,361
PartiesWILLIAM TRUAX, Sr., Wiley E. Jones, Attorney General of the State of Arizona, and W. G. Gilmore, County Attorney of Cochise County, Arizona, Appts., v. MIKE RAICH
CourtU.S. Supreme Court

Mr. Wiley E. Jones, Attorney General of Arizona, and Messrs. Leslie C. Hardy, George W. Harben, J. Addison Hicks, and W. B. Cleary for appellants.

[Argument of Counsel from page 34 intentionally omitted] Messrs. Alexander Britton, Evans Browne, and Francis W. Clements for appellee.

Mr. Justice Hughes delivered the opinion of the court:

Under the initiative provision of the Constitution of Arizona (art. 4, § 1) there was adopted the following measure which was proclaimed by the governor as a law of the state on December 14, 1914:

An Act to Protect the Citizens of the United States in Their Employment against Noncitizens of the United States, in Arizona, and to Provide Penalties and Punishment for the Violation Thereof.

Be it enacted by the People of the State of Arizona:

Section 1. Any company, corporation, partnership, association or individual who is, or may hereafter become an employer of more than five (5) workers at any one time, in the state of Arizona, regardless of kind or class of work, or sex of workers, shall employ not less than eighty (80) per cent qualified electors or native-born citizens of the United States or some subdivision thereof.

Sec. 2. Any company, corporation, partnership, association or individual, their agent or agents, found guilty of violating any of the provisions of this act shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be subject to a fine of not less than one hundred ($100) dollars, and imprisoned for not less than thirty (30) days.

Sec. 3. Any employee who shall misrepresent, or make false statement, as to his or her nativity or citizenship, shall, upon conviction thereof, be subject to a fine of not less than one hundred ($100) dollars, and imprisoned for not less than thirty (30) days. Laws of Arizona, 1915. Initiative Measure, p. 12.

Mike Raich (the appellee), a native of Austria, and an inhabitant of the state of Arizona, but not a qualified elector, was employed as a cook by the appellant William Truax, Sr., in his restaurant in the city of Bisbee, Cochise county. Truax had nine employees, of whom seven were neither 'native born citizens' of the United States nor qualified electors. After the election at which the act was passed Raich was informed by his employer that when the law was proclaimed, and solely by reason of its requirements and because of the fear of the penalties that would be incurred in case of its violation, he would be discharged. Thereupon, on December 15, 1914, Raich filed this bill in the district court of the United States for the district of Arizona, asserting, among other things, that the act denied to him the equal protection of the laws and hence was contrary to the 14th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. Wiley E. Jones, the attorney general of the state, and W. G. Gilmore, the county attorney of Cochise county, were made defendants in addition to the employer Truax, upon the allegation that these officers would prosecute the employer unless he complied with its terms, and that in order to avoid such a prosecution the employer was about to discharge the complainant. Averring that there was no adequate remedy at law, the bill sought a decree declaring the act to be unconstitutional and restraining action thereunder.

Soon after the bill was filed, an application was made for an injunction pendente lite. After notice of this application, Truax was arrested for a violation of the act, upon a complaint prepared by one of the assistants in the office of the county attorney of Cochise county, and as it appeared that by reason of the determination of the officers to enforce the act there was danger of the complainant's immediate discharge from employment, the district judge granted a temporary restraining order.

Their allegations of the bill were not controverted. The defendants joined in a motion to dismiss upon the grounds (1) that the suit was against the state of Arizona without its consent; (2) that it was sought to enjoin the enforcement of a criminal statute; (3) that the bill did not state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action in equity; and (4) that there was an improper joinder of parties, and the plaintiff was not entitled to sue for the relief asked. The application for an interlocutory injunction and the motion to dismiss were then heard before three judges, as required by § 266 of the Judicial Code [36 Stat. at L. 1162, chap. 231, Comp. Stat. 1913, § 1243]. The motion to dismiss was denied and an interlocutory injunction restraining the defendants, the attorney general and the county attorney, and their successors and assistants, from enforcing the act against the defendant Truax, was granted. 219 Fed. 273. This direct appeal has been taken.

As the bill is framed upon the theory that the act is unconstitutional, and that the defendants, who are public officers concerned with the enforcement of the laws of the state, are about to proceed wrongfully to the complainant's injury through interference with his employment, it is established that the suit cannot be regarded as one against the state. Whatever doubt existed in this class of cases was removed by the decision in Ex parte Young, 209 U. S. 123, 155, 161, 52 L. ed. 714, 727, 729, 13 L.R.A. (N.S.) 932, 28 Sup. Ct. Rep. 441, 14 Ann. Cas. 764, which has repeatedly been followed. Ludwig v. Western U. Teleg. Co. 216 U. S. 146, 54 L. ed. 423, 30 Sup. Ct. Rep. 280; Western U. Teleg. Co. v. Andrews, 216 U. S. 165, 54 L. ed. 430, 30 Sup. Ct. Rep. 286; Herndon v. Chicago, R. I. & P. R. Co. 218 U. S. 135, 155, 54 L. ed. 970, 976, 30 Sup. Ct. Rep. 633; Hopkins v. Clemson Agri. College, 221 U. S. 636, 643-645, 55 L. ed. 890, 894, 895, 35 L.R.A.(N.S.) 243, 31 Sup. Ct. Rep. 456; Philadelphia Co. v. Stimson, 223 U. S. 607, 620, 56 L. ed. 572, 576, 32 Sup. Ct. Rep. 340; Home Teleph. & Teleg. Co. v. Los Angeles, 227 U. S. 278, 293, 57 L. ed. 510, 517, 33 Sup. Ct. Rep. 312.

It is also settled that while a court of equity, generally speaking, has 'no jurisdiction over the prosecution, the punishment, or the pardon of crimes or misdemeanors' (Re Sawyer, 124 U. S. 200, 210, 31 L. ed. 402, 405, 8 Sup. Ct. Rep. 482), a distinction obtains, and equitable jurisdiction exists to restrain criminal pros- ecutions under unconstitutional enactments, when the prevention of such prosecutions is essential to the safeguarding of rights of property. Davis & F. Mfg. Co. v. Los Angeles, 189 U. S. 207, 218, 47 L. ed. 778, 780, 23 Sup. Ct. Rep. 498; Dobbins v. Los Angeles, 195 U. S. 223, 241, 49 L. ed. 169, 177, 25 Sup. Ct. Rep. 18; Ex parte Young, supra; Philadelphia Co. v. Stimson, 223 U. S. 621, 56 L. ed. 577, 32 Sup. Ct. Rep. 340. The right to earn a livelihood and to continue in employment unmolested by efforts to enforce void enactments should similarly be entitled to protection in the absence of adequate remedy at law. It is said that the bill does not show an employment for a term, and that under an employment at will the complainant could be discharged at any time, for any reason or for no reason, the motive of the employer being immaterial. The conclusion, however, that is sought to be drawn, is too broad. The fact that the employment is at the will of the parties, respectively, does not make it one at the will of others. The employee has manifest interest in the freedom of the employer to exercise his judgment without illegal interference or compulsion and, by the weight of authority, the unjustified interference of third persons is actionable although the employment is at will. Moran v. Dunphy, 177 Mass. 485, 487, 52 L.R.A. 115, 83 Am. St. Rep. 289, 59 N. E. 125; Berry v. Donovan, 188 Mass. 353, 5 L.R.A.(N.S.) 899, 108 Am. St. Rep. 499, 74 N. E. 603, 3 Ann. Cas. 738; Brennan v. United Hatters, 73 N. J. L. 729, 743, 9 L.R.A.(N.S.) 254, 118 Am. St. Rep. 727, 65 Atl. 165, 9 Ann. Cas. 698; Perkins v. Pendleton, 90 Me. 166, 60 Am. St. Rep. 252, 38 Atl. 96; Lucke v. Clothing Cutters' & T. Assembly, 77 Md. 396, 19 L.R.A. 408, 39 Am. St. Rep. 421, 26 Atl. 505; London Guarantee & Acci. Co. v. Horn, 101 Ill. App. 355, 206 Ill. 493, 99 Am. St. Rep. 185, 69 N. E. 526; Chipley v. Atkinson, 20 Fla. 206, 11 Am. St. Rep. 367, 1 So. 934; Blumenthal v. Shaw, 23 C. C. A. 590, 39 U. S. App. 490, 77 Fed. 954. It is further urged that the complainant cannot sue save to redress his own grievance (McCabe v. Atchison, T. & S. F. R. Co. 235 U. S. 151, 162, 59 L. ed. 169, 174, 35 Sup. Ct. Rep. 69); that is, that the servant cannot complain for the master, and that it is the master who is subject to prosecution, and not the complainant. But the act undertakes to operate directly upon the employment of aliens, and if enforced would compel the employer to discharge a sufficient number of his employees to bring the alien quota within the prescribed limit. It sufficiently appears that the discharge of the complainant will be solely for the purpose of meeting the requirements of the act and avoiding threatened prosecution under its provisions. It is, therefore, idle to call the injury indirect or remote. It is also entirely clear that unless the enforcement of the act is restrained the complainant will have no adequate remedy, and hence we think that the case falls within the class in which, if the unconstitutionality of the act is shown, equitable relief may be had.

The question, then, is whether the act assailed is repugnant to the 14th Amendment. Upon the allegations of the bill, it must be assumed that the complainant, a native of Austria, has been admitted to the United States under the Federal law. He was thus admitted with the privilege of entering and abiding in the United States, and hence of entering and...

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