American Radio Assn., AFL-CIO v. Mobile Steamship Assn., Inc.

PETITIONER: American Radio Assn., AFL-CIO, et al.
RESPONDENT: Mobile Steamship Association, Robert Malone
LOCATION: Alabama State Docks

DOCKET NO.: 73-748
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1972-1975)
LOWER COURT: Supreme Court of Alabama

CITATION: 419 US 215 (1974)
ARGUED: Oct 21, 1974
DECIDED: Dec 17, 1974
GRANTED: Feb 25, 1974

ADVOCATES:
Alex F. Lankford, III, - for respondent Robert Malone
Frank McRight - for respondent Mobile Steamship Association, Inc
Howard Schulman - for petitioners

Facts of the case

Six maritime unions, including American Radio Association, picketed docks in Mobile, Alabama, asking the public not to patronize foreign vessels docked there. The unions were opposed to the low wages paid to foreign seamen. Mobile Steamship Association sued to enjoin the picketing because it prevented the loading and unloading of ships. The circuit court granted a temporary injunction and the Supreme Court of Alabama affirmed. The courts held that the picketing did not “affect commerce” within the meaning of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), so the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) did not have jurisdiction. The courts also held that enjoining the picketing did not violate the First Amendment because the picketing resulted in a work stoppage, not just the expression of ideas.

Question

(1) Did the NLRB have jurisdiction over the picketers?

(2) Did enjoining the picketers violate freedom of expression under the First Amendment?

Media for American Radio Assn., AFL-CIO v. Mobile Steamship Assn., Inc.

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 21, 1974 in American Radio Assn., AFL-CIO v. Mobile Steamship Assn., Inc.

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - December 17, 1974 in American Radio Assn., AFL-CIO v. Mobile Steamship Assn., Inc.

Warren E. Burger:

The judgment and opinion of the Court in number 73748 American Radio Association against the Mobile Steamship Association will be announced with a Mr. Justice Rehnquist.

William H. Rehnquist:

(Inaudible)

Warren E. Burger:

Thank you Mr. Justice Rehnquist.