Glidden Company v. Zdanok

PETITIONER: Glidden Company
RESPONDENT: Olga Zdanok
LOCATION: Southern District Court of New York

DOCKET NO.: 242
DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1962)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

CITATION: 370 US 530 (1962)
ARGUED: Feb 21, 1962 / Feb 26, 1962
DECIDED: Jun 25, 1962

ADVOCATES:
Chester Bordeau - For the petitioner
Morris Shapiro - For the Respondent

Facts of the case

Olga Zdanok and other individual employees of Glidden Company(Glidden) sought to recover damages for breach of collective bargaining agreement in New York state court, and then Glidden removed the case to federal district court on the grounds of diversity of citizenship. Judge J. Warren Madden, an active judge on the Court of Claims at the time, granted the employees damages. Glidden argued that the guarantee in Article III of the Constitution that judges should hold their offices during good behavior meant that Judge Madden displayed a lack of appropriate judicial independence. 

Previous judicial precedent had established that the United States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals and the United States Court of Claims were neither confined in jurisdiction nor protected in independence by Article III of the Constitution, but that there were created by other powers Congress possessed under Article I. Congress had since enacted statutes explicitly including the Court of Claims and the Court of Customs and Patent Appeals in Article III of the Constitution. 

Question

Are judges in the United States Court of Claims and the United States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals constitutionally protected in tenure and compensation under Article III of the Constitution? 

Media for Glidden Company v. Zdanok

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument, Part 2: Lurk v. United States - February 21, 1962 (481) in Glidden Company v. Zdanok
Audio Transcription for Oral Argument, Part 1: Glidden Company v. Zdanok - February 26, 1962 (242) in Glidden Company v. Zdanok
Audio Transcription for Oral Argument, Part 2: Glidden Company v. Zdanok - February 26, 1962 (242) in Glidden Company v. Zdanok

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument, Part 1: Lurk v. United States - February 21, 1962 (481) in Glidden Company v. Zdanok

Earl Warren:

Number 481, Benny Lurk, Petitioner, versus the United States.

Mr. Gressman.

Eugene Gressman:

Mr. Chief Justice, may it please the Court.

As this case comes back here once again, it is confined to the constitutional issue to wit -- whether Article III of the Constitution authorizes or permits the assignment of a retired judge of the Court of Customs and Patent Appeals to sit on the District Court for the District of Columbia.

And thereby, to preside over and render judgment against a petitioner on trial for a felony as defined in the District of Columbia Code.

Well, facts in this case are quite simple (Voice Overlap) --

Felix Frankfurter:

Does it make a difference whether it's felony or misdemeanor?

Eugene Gressman:

Well, it only makes in the sense that felony is (Voice Overlap) --

Felix Frankfurter:

You're assuming misdemeanor is triable before a court and jury, would it make a difference?

Eugene Gressman:

Not at all, Your Honor.

Felix Frankfurter:

Alright.

Eugene Gressman:

Now the -- as I stated, the facts are simple and without contest.

This petitioner, Benny Lurk, was indicted, tried before a jury and convicted of the crime of robbery as defined in the District of Columbia Code.

He was -- his trial was presided over and judgment was rendered against him by Judge Joseph R. Jackson.

Trial took place on March 22, 1960.

Now, Judge Jackson had then appointed to the Court of Customs and Patent Appeals in 1937.

He sat on that court for more that 14 years and retired there from in 1952.

Several years thereafter, began a series of assignments of Judge Jackson pursuant to Section 294 (d) of Title 28 of the U.S. Code which expressly permits and authorizes the assignment by the Chief Justice of the United States of judges, retired Judges of the Court of Customs and Patent Appeals to sit on District Courts around the country.

The particular assignment in question here and the one which covered the period during which petitioner's trial took place, delegated or authorized Judge Jackson to sit on the District Court for the District of Columbia for the entire year of 1960.

And in that connection, it is important to note that the assignment made of Judge Jackson for the year 1960 did not designate him to sit as one of the -- or in place of any of the regular 15 judges composing the District Court of the United States, simply authorized him to fill an office so-called of the Judge of the District Court of the United States for the District of Columbia, an office which was created solely by virtue of the assignment, made pursuant to Section 294 (d).

And the petitioner's challenge in this case goes to the constitutionality of that statute which purports to authorize this office of District Judge of the United States by virtue of an assignment of a retired judge of the Court of Customs and Patent Appeals.

We, therefore, attacking the de jure as well the de facto in nature of this Judge's participation as a Judge of the District Court.

And under these circumstances as we developed more fully and I reply brief in this case, the first defense offered by the Government in this case in terms of de facto doctrine is no answer to the challenge, the constitutional challenge made by petitioner in this case that no office could exist by virtue of an assignment under this statute.

Now, before I get to the heart of the constitutional issue, there are several preliminary considerations which I would like to submit, which I feel are critical to an understanding of that constitutional issue and which form the context within which this issue must be viewed.

Now, first such consideration is the fact that this petitioner is here alleging a personal constitutional right as an inhabitant of the District of Columbia to have his trial in the District Court, heard by a judge authorized to execute Article III judicial power and author -- and having the constitutional immunity or independence of action which Article III gives to judges of Article III courts.

And that to deny him that claim, that right, we suggest, is to deny this petitioner due process of law in his trial and conviction.

Now, this personal claim of the petitioner, this personal -- (Voice Overlap) --

Felix Frankfurter:

Let me ask you.

If you're right, why do we have to bother about due process?

Eugene Gressman:

Well, I think it -- it automatically follows.