Hicklin v. Orbeck

LOCATION:Milwaukee County Courthouse

DOCKET NO.: 77-324
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT: Alaska Supreme Court

CITATION: 437 US 518 (1978)
ARGUED: Mar 21, 1978
DECIDED: Jun 22, 1978

Ronald W. Lorensen – for appellees
Robert H. Wagstaff – for appellants

Facts of the case

In 1972, the Alaska Legislature passed the Local Hire Under State Leases Act which required “all oil and gas leases [and other activities related to this industry] to which the state is a party” include provisions for the preferential hiring of Alaska residents over non-residents. To administer the law, residents were issued residency cards which they were to present to potential employers when seeking jobs. Hicklin and others did not qualify for employment under the Alaska residency standard.


Did the Alaska statute violate the Constitution’s Privileges and Immunities Clause of Article IV, Section 2, and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment?

Media for Hicklin v. Orbeck

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument – March 21, 1978 in Hicklin v. Orbeck

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement – June 22, 1978 in Hicklin v. Orbeck

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

The other case 77-324 Hicklin V. Orbeck is here from the Supreme Court of Alaska.

The Supreme Court of Alaska sustained the constitutionality of an Alaska statute of popularly known as the Alaska Hire Act.

Hire is spelled h-i-r-e and that law requires all Alaskan oil and gas leases, easements or right away permits for oil and gas pipelines in the certain specified oil agreements.

To contain a requirement that qualifying Alaska residents must be hired in preference to non-residents, and that employment preference is administered by providing persons meeting certain statutory requirement for Alaskan residency with what I call resident cards that can be presented to a covered employer as proof of the job applicants Alaska residency.

Well, appellants are not residents of Alaska and although wanting jobs are covered by the Act, can’t get them because they can’t qualify for the necessary resident cards.

So, they brought this suit challenging Alaska Hire as violative of both the Privileges and Immunities clause of Article 4 Section 2 and the Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and the Alaska Supreme Court held that neither provision was violated and we reverse, we hold for reasons slated in the opinion filed with the clerk that Alaska Hire is invalid under the Privileges and Immunities clause which provides that the citizens of each state shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several states.

We, therefore, reverse and have no occasion to address the question whether the Alaska Hire also violates the Equal Protection Clause.

Warren E. Burger:

Thank you, Mr. Justice Brennan.