Hudgens v. National Labor Relations Board

PETITIONER: Hudgens
RESPONDENT: National Labor Relations Board
LOCATION: District Attorney’s Office, County of Los Angeles

DOCKET NO.: 74-773
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

CITATION: 424 US 507 (1976)
ARGUED: Oct 14, 1975
DECIDED: Mar 03, 1976

ADVOCATES:
Lawrence M. Cohen - for petitioner
Laurence Stephen Gold - for respondent Local 315, Retail and Wholesale Department Store Union, AFL-CIO
Norton J. Come - for respondent N

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Hudgens v. National Labor Relations Board

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 14, 1975 in Hudgens v. National Labor Relations Board

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - March 03, 1976 in Hudgens v. National Labor Relations Board

Warren E. Burger:

Mr. Justice Stewart has two opinions to announce, Hudgens against the National Labor Relations Board and United States against Gaddis.

Potter Stewart:

In the Hudgens case, which is 74-773, we have before us a grant of a write of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

In this case, a group of labor union members who engaged in peaceful primary picketing within the confines of a privately owned shopping center were threatened by an agent of the owner of the shopping center with arrest for criminal trespass if they did not leave.

The question presented the basic issue is whether this threat violated the National Labor Relations Act.

The National Labor Relations Board concluded that it did and the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit agreed.

We granted certiorari because of the seemingly important questions of Federal Law involved.

The rather lengthy history of this litigation, involving two trips to the Court of Appeals and two proceedings in the Labor Board, has been a history of shifting positions on the part of the litigants, the Board, and the Court of Appeals.

It been a history of considerable confusion in short, confusion engendered at least in part by decisions of this Court that intervened during the course of the litigation.

In the present posture of the case the most basic question is whether the respective rights and liabilities of the parties are to be decided under the criteria of the National Labor Relations Act alone or under a First Amendment standard or under some combination of the two.

For the reasons spelled out in detail in the Court’s written opinion, we hold that under the present state of the law, the constitutional guarantee of free expression has no part to play in a case such as this one is, involving picketing on private property.

Accordingly, the judgment before us is vacated and the case is remanded to the Court of Appeals with directions to remand to the National Labor Relations Board, so that the case may be there considered under the statutory criteria of the National Labor Relations Act alone.

Mr. Justice Powell has filed a concurring opinion which the Chief Justice has joined.

Mr. Justice White has filed a statement concurring only in the judgment, and Mr. Justice Marshall has filed a dissenting opinion in which he has been joined by Mr. Justice Brennan.

Mr. Justice Stevens took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.