Harmon v. Brucker

PETITIONER: Harmon
RESPONDENT: Brucker
LOCATION: Philadelphia Board of Public Education

DOCKET NO.: 80
DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1957-1958)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

CITATION: 355 US 579 (1958)
ARGUED: Jan 14, 1958 / Jan 15, 1958
DECIDED: Mar 03, 1958

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Harmon v. Brucker

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument, Part 2: Harmon v. Brucker - January 15, 1958 (80) in Harmon v. Brucker
Audio Transcription for Oral Argument, Part 1: Abramowitz v. Brucker - January 15, 1958 (141) in Harmon v. Brucker
Audio Transcription for Oral Argument, Part 2: Abramowitz v. Brucker - January 15, 1958 (141) in Harmon v. Brucker

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument, Part 1: Harmon v. Brucker - January 14, 1958 (80) in Harmon v. Brucker

Earl Warren:

Number 80, John Henry Harmon, III, Petitioner, versus Wilber M. Brucker, Individually, and as Secretary of the Department of the Army.

Mr. Shapiro.

David I. Shapiro:

May it please the Court.

This case is here on a writ of certiorari to the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

The basic question here is whether the Army can give a soldier a less than honorable discharge certificate, when the actual character of that soldiers service, require that the Army give him nothing less than an honorable discharge.

These are the facts, on the 31st day of October, 1952, the petitioner who is a resident of the State of New York, a law student and perspective applicant for admission to the bar.

He was newly inducted into the Army under the provisions of the Universal Military Training and Service Act of 1948.

On February 9, 1954, 15 months had already elapsed from the time he had been inducted.

His service, as disclosed by his service record, was excellent and he was then directed to reply the certain specific derogatory information.

Contained in the letter of allegations proceed from the Adjutant General of the Army.

This derogatory information was that in 1951 and 1952, he worked at a place called Camp Lakeland reportedly, a Communist operated camp.

In 1949, he was employed by the Detroit Urban League according to the Army a subversive organization.

Felix Frankfurter:

Is the Detroit Urban League (Inaudible)

David I. Shapiro:

Yes, sir, it is.

In 1952, it registered to vote in New York City with the American Labor Party which had been cited by a House Committee as under Communist control.

Felix Frankfurter:

What -- was there about Detroit Urban League that he is a member of that?

David I. Shapiro:

That he had been employed by the Detroit Urban League I --

Felix Frankfurter:

Is that on attorney general's brief?

Do you have any?

David I. Shapiro:

No, sir.

It is not.

Felix Frankfurter:

(Inaudible)

David I. Shapiro:

Well, according to the Army's letter of allegations, it was reportedly a subversive organization.

How it got there, I don't know.

Felix Frankfurter:

The National Urban League?

David I. Shapiro:

They didn't say the National Urban League but they -- they did specify the Detroit Urban League.

The fourth allegation basically was that he had solicited contributions for the legal defense of persons who had been indictment under the Smith Act.

Now, Harmon was also directed to reply to certain derogatory information concerning both his father and his stepmother and both of whom were alleged to have had subversive associations, his father reportedly, being a member of the Communist Party.

Several weeks after he got the letter --

Where are they (Inaudible)