Fry v. United States

RESPONDENT:United States
LOCATION:Chicago, Illinois

DOCKET NO.: 73-822
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1972-1975)

CITATION: 421 US 542 (1975)
ARGUED: Nov 11, 1974
DECIDED: May 27, 1975

John A. Brown – for petitioners
Jewel S. Lafontant – Deputy Solicitor General, Department of Justice, for the United States

Facts of the case


Media for Fry v. United States

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument – November 11, 1974 in Fry v. United States

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement – May 27, 1975 in Fry v. United States

Warren E. Burger:

The judgment and opinion of the Court in No. 73-822, Fry against the United States will be announced by Mr. Justice Marshall.

Thurgood Marshall:

This case is here on writ of certiorari to Temporary Emergency Court of Appeals.

In Economic Stabilization Act of 1970 authorized the President to stabilize wages and salaries at certain levels, and created the Pay Board to oversee these controls.

The question presented by this case, is whether the Act was constitutional as applied by the Pay Board to Ohio state employees.

The language and the legislative history of the Act make it clear that Congress contemplated, sacrifices by business and labor as well as other segments of the economy to implement the controls.

In an opinion filed with the clerk today, we hold that general raises to state employees, could significantly affect interstate commerce and could thus by — properly subject to regulation by Congress.

State employees do not derive immunity from federal regulation under the Commerce Clause merely because of their sovereign status.

Here, where the Act did not appreciably intrude on state sovereignty, but was an emergency measure, the effectiveness of federal action would have been drastically impaired if wage increases to state and legal — and local employees were left outside the reach of the Act.

The judgment below is therefore affirmed.

Mr. Justice Douglas has filed a separate statement.

And Mr. Justice Rehnquist has filed a dissenting opinion.

Warren E. Burger:

Thank you Mr. Justice Marshall.