Elrod v. Burns

LOCATION:Ship’s Restaurant

DOCKET NO.: 74-1520
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

CITATION: 427 US 347 (1976)
ARGUED: Apr 19, 1976
DECIDED: Jun 25, 1976

John C. Tucker – for respondents
Thomas A. Foran – for petitioners

Facts of the case


Media for Elrod v. Burns

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument – April 19, 1976 in Elrod v. Burns

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement – June 25, 1976 in Elrod v. Burns

Warren E. Burger:

The judgment of the court in 74-1520 Elrod against Burns will be announced by Mr. Justice Brennan.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

This case is here from the Court of Appeals of the Seventh Circuit.

In this case a Republican Sheriff of Cook County, Illinois lost out to a Democrat in an election for that office.

The democratic Sheriff promptly dismissed all the Republican non-civil service employees, not covered by any law protecting them from arbitrary discharge.

The Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held that the democratic Sheriff’s dismissal of the republicans solely to enable him to give the jobs to deserving Democrats deprived the dismissed Republicans of constitutional freedoms of belief and association secured by the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

We affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeals.

Our judgment is supported by two opinions, I filed one in which Mr. Justice White and Mr. Justice Marshall have joined.

Mr. Justice Stewart joined by Mr. Justice Blackmun has filed the other.

The Chief Justice dissents in this filed a dissenting opinion.

Mr. Justice Powell also dissents and joined by the Chief Justice and Mr. Justice Rehnquist has filed a dissenting opinion.

Mr. Justice Stevens took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.

Warren E. Burger:

Thank you Mr. Justice Brennan.