Amalgamated Meat Cutters & Butcher Workmen of North America, Local No. 427, AFL v. Fairlawn Meats, Inc. Page 2

Amalgamated Meat Cutters & Butcher Workmen of North America, Local No. 427, AFL v. Fairlawn Meats, Inc. general information

Media for Amalgamated Meat Cutters & Butcher Workmen of North America, Local No. 427, AFL v. Fairlawn Meats, Inc.

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 16, 1957 in Amalgamated Meat Cutters & Butcher Workmen of North America, Local No. 427, AFL v. Fairlawn Meats, Inc.

Mozart G. Ratner:

-- of the National Labor Relations Act.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

Is there any issue in this case as to whether the Board has the power, the right to decline jurisdiction?

Mozart G. Ratner:

We raised no question, Your Honor, with respect to the Board's power to decline, to assert jurisdiction for budgetary and other legitimate administrative reasons nor do we in this case ourselves raised the question as to whether the Board's declination as it affected this case or any of the three cases here pending was in fact for a budgetary or other legitimate administrative reason.

The Labor Board however insists that all of its recent declinations in which they have tremendously expanded the area over which they decline to assert jurisdiction are predicated entirely upon budgetary and other legitimate reasons.

It urges that only if they had expanded this field for illegitimate reasons which we take it in this situation to mean a desire to reallocate authority as between the states and the Federal Government would they be powerless by virtue of the proviso of the Section 10 (a) to do so.

We think the Court need not decide that question here, because we think that 10 (a) is the only way that states can acquire jurisdiction over enterprises subject to the Act for which the Board declines to assert jurisdiction for any reason.

But we do think as the brief of the seven states points out, as a brief of the employer points out on the Garmin case and it seems apparent on the face of a numerous Board decisions that there is at least considerable question as to whether the Board is motivated by budgetary or other legitimate considerations as distinguished from a desire to reallocate authority between the states and the Federal Government in this field labor disputes.

Mr. Ratner, do you think it's important or not important for one to make up his own mind whether or not the Board has jurisdiction here which is a matter of discretion, it cannot decline.

Do you think that's an irrelevant question to this problem?

Mozart G. Ratner:

Your Honor in my view, the only relevant question is whether under the familiar jurisdictional test that this Court laid down in Fainblatt and (Inaudible)

The interstate commerce operations of this employer affect the interstate commerce within the meaning of the Act.

If they do, the Act applies to it.

From that point on, the Board may decline to assert jurisdiction for budgetary or other reasons if it chooses.

Why do you say that?

Mozart G. Ratner:

Well, I say that largely because I'm influenced by what this Court said about it within the Building Trades case.

This board applied in a decision written by Mr. Justice Burton --

Felix Frankfurter:

Isn't that one (Voice Overlap) --

Mozart G. Ratner:

-- that the Board had power to do it.

Felix Frankfurter:

That is an -- that was the same thing (Inaudible) that, what I want to know is if an agency has jurisdiction conferred by the Congress of the United States, as to include the National Labor Relations Board.

What is the answer to a mandamus proceeding to make it exercisable?

That is what was done in the case, if the ICC can't say we don't want to enforce this, can we?

But this Court had issued mandamus, now this Board had said that mandamus would lie.

Mozart G. Ratner:

All I can suggest to you Mr. Justice Frankfurter is that it has been suggested by eminent counsel that mandamus ought to lie.

Felix Frankfurter:

I want to know from you whether I should dismiss that for my mind, if I conclude that mandamus would lie may have one answer, if I conclude that mandamus does not lie, I may have another answer.

Mozart G. Ratner:

Let me say that for the purposes of my argument, I have assumed that mandamus would not lie.

I think that if mandamus would lie, we cannot possibly be heard by it.

Felix Frankfurter:

Why do you assume it?

That's my next question.

I don't see (Voice Overlap) --

Mozart G. Ratner:

We assume it because the history of the Board's declinations of jurisdiction for budgetary and other reasons have been before -- before this Court on a number of cases.