De Veau v. Braisted

LOCATION: Approximately half-way between Santa Marta, Colombia and Miami. Florida (by water)

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1958-1962)

CITATION: 363 US 144 (1960)
ARGUED: Mar 01, 1960
DECIDED: Jun 06, 1960

Facts of the case


Media for De Veau v. Braisted

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 01, 1960 (Part 2) in De Veau v. Braisted

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 01, 1960 (Part 1) in De Veau v. Braisted

Earl Warren:

Number 71, George De Veau, appellant versus John M. Braisted, Jr., assistant, as District Attorney of Richmond County.

Mr. Gleason

Thomas W. Gleason, Jr.:

Mr. Chief Justice, may it please the Court.

This is an appeal from the Court of Appeals of New York.

The nature of the proceeding was a declaratory judgment.

It was instituted by the appellant to test the constitutionality of Section 8 for the Waterfront Commission Act.

The facts in the case are very brief.

De Veau, some 40 years ago in 1920 while a youth, went joyriding in an automobile valued at $700.

He was apprehended by the police and later on he pleaded guilty to attempted grand larceny.

He received a suspended sentence and was placed on probation for five years.

In 19 --

William O. Douglas:

How -- how old was he about this?

Thomas W. Gleason, Jr.:

He was 19 years of age at the time.

William O. Douglas:

And what year was this?

Thomas W. Gleason, Jr.:

In 1920.

In 1926, he went to work on the waterfront and worked there until 1949 when he was elected Secretary-Treasurer of the Local 1346 in the port New York which is affiliated with the International Longshoremen's Association.

That election was held by the (Inaudible) Association.

In 1953, the State of New York legislated Section 8, which prevented anyone who is convicted of a felony to be a union officer.

In 1953, after the statute was legislated, the De Veau commenced an action in the Southern District Court of New York to test the constitutionality.

At that time, the Waterfront Commission and the District Attorneys of New York put the position that it did not apply to De Veau.

And sometime after that, the case of Calabrese and Hazelton was commenced in the State of New Jersey.

There, the constitutionality of Section 8 was upheld on the grounds that it was -- within the police power of the state.

In 1955, before the decision of Hazelton versus Murray, De Veau again ran for office and was elected by the membership who knew of his past felony and this election was also conducted by the (Inaudible) Association.

The compact was divided into three parts.

Part one, does not contain Section 8.

It sets up the recommendations made to Congress and which the Congress passed on.

Section 8, is contained at part three, in which Congress did not pass on and therefore did not ratify Section 8.

We take the position that Section 8 is in conflict with Section 7, in that Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act pre-empts the States from taking any action as to setting up qualifications.

We base this on a Hill versus Florida case in which the Court there ruled as I state may not set up qualifications as to union officers or representatives of unions which employees have the right to free choice.

William O. Douglas:

Are you talking about the Labor Management Act as it was at the time the Court of Appeals heard argument in this case or as of now?