Baggett v. Bullitt

LOCATION: Georgia General Assembly

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1962-1965)

CITATION: 377 US 360 (1964)
ARGUED: Mar 24, 1964
DECIDED: Jun 01, 1964

Facts of the case


Media for Baggett v. Bullitt

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 24, 1964 in Baggett v. Bullitt

Earl Warren:

Number 220, Lawrence W. Baggett, et al., Appellants, versus Dorothy Bullitt, et al.

Arval A. Morris:

May it please the Court.

Earl Warren:

We'll wait a moment until counsel gets --

Arval A. Morris:


Earl Warren:

Mr. Morris.

Arval A. Morris:

Mr. Chief Justice, Members of this Court.

This case, Baggett against Bullitt, Number 220, is a loyalty oath case involving test oaths as a condition of academic employment at a state university in United States, the University of Washington.

This case presents many issues but one of them which is of paramount significance and one to which I wish to attract my attention and one to which I shall confine the bulk of my argument is whether or not these test oaths function as a prior restraint on academic freedom , freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom of conscience.

Specifically, does the State have constitutional power under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to require that all professors give up certain of their rights for academic freedom, free speech, association and conscience as a condition of academic employment at a state university?

The facts of the case can easily be stated.

As to the class action brought by 64 people who are intimately connected with the University of Washington, 64 of the -- of the 64 appellants, 56 of them are professors and members of the academic faculty having teaching and/or research duties.

This is set forth in the record at pages 151 to 156.

Thirty-one of the professors have tenure at the University of Washington and 25 of the professors have academic appointments usually for a three-year duration.

Now, these 25 professors do not have tenure but they are not probationary employees in the usual sense of the term but instead they have a three-year appointment that is renewable for another three years at the end of which they will acquire tenure and this is set forth in the record at page 294.

Many of the professors have security clearances from such agencies of the United States Atomic Energy Commission, the United States Air Force, the Navy and the Boeing Company.

Of the eight remaining appellants who are not members of the academic faculty, four of them are students of the University of Washington, two are secretary typists, one is a micro-meteorologist and another is an assistant editor of the University of Washington Press.

Many of the professors at the University of Washington, three of whom are before this Court today, Professor Usinger, Professor Kenneth Reed and Professor Paul Didrickson are aliens.

As set forth at page 102 of appellants' briefs, these oaths have been demanded of the aliens who were involved in this case.

Earl Warren:

What is that last sentence?

I didn't get what you said.

Arval A. Morris:

I say as set forth at page 102 of the appellants' brief, the aliens have been demanded that they execute the oaths involved in this case.

Earl Warren:


Arval A. Morris:

That's also supported by the record at pages 159, page 303 and page 176.

The context within which the professors assert their rights is, of course, the University of Washington.

It was -- it was early founded in our nation in 1861.

It is now in its 2nd century of academic endeavor.

It is older than the State of Washington having been found prior to that.

At the present time on its Seattle campus, it has the faculty of over 1500 professors, a physical plan of about 100 permanent buildings located in area of about 600 acres.

Beyond its Seattle campus, it --

Byron R. White:

Is it involved in the record?