Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Wyoming

PETITIONER: Wyoming
RESPONDENT: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
LOCATION: U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

DOCKET NO.: 81-554
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1981-1986)
LOWER COURT:

CITATION: 460 US 226 (1983)
ARGUED: Oct 05, 1982
DECIDED: Mar 02, 1983

ADVOCATES:
Alexander Hamilton - for example, made this argument in The Federalist No. 84, pp. 578-579
Bruce A. Salzburg - on behalf of the Appellees
Rex E. Lee - on behalf of the Appellant

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Wyoming

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 05, 1982 in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Wyoming

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - March 02, 1983 in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Wyoming

Warren E. Burger:

Mr. Justice Brennan will announce the judgment and opinion of the Court in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Wyoming.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

This is an appeal from the District Court for the District of Wyoming.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against any employee or potential employee between the ages of 40 and 70 on the basis of age with a certain important exception.

In 1974, the definition of "employer" under Section 11(b) of the Act was extended was extended by Congress to include state and local governments.

After a supervisor for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department was involuntarily retired at age 55 pursuant to a Wyoming statute, he filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, alleging violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

The Commission ultimately filed suit in Federal District Court against the appellees, the State of Wyoming and various state officials, seeking relief on behalf of the supervisor and others similarly situated.

The District Court dismissed the suit, holding that insofar as the Act regulated Wyoming's employment relationship with its game wardens and other law enforcement officials, it violated the doctrine of Tenth Amendment immunity articulated in National League of Cities versus Usery, a case decided by this Court a few terms ago.

That case struck down Congress' attempt to extend the wage and hour provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act to state and local governments.

We reverse the judgment of the District Court.

We hold that National League of Cities versus Usery is in applicable in this case.

Rather, we hold the extension of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act to cover state and local governments is a valid exercise of Congress' powers under the Commerce Clause, both on its face and as applied in this case, and is not precluded by virtue of external constraints imposed on Congress' commerce powers by the Tenth Amendment.

Justice Stevens has joined the Court opinion and also filed a concurring opinion.

The Chief Justice has filed a dissenting opinion in which Justice Powell, Justice Rehnquist and Justice O'Connor have joined.

Warren E. Burger:

Thank you, Justice Brennan.