Mackey v. Montrym

PETITIONER: Mackey
RESPONDENT: Montrym
LOCATION: Collision between Mr. Montrym’s car and motorcycle

DOCKET NO.: 77-69
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT:

CITATION: 443 US 1 (1979)
ARGUED: Nov 29, 1978
DECIDED: Jun 25, 1979

ADVOCATES:
Mitchell J. Sikora, Jr. - for appellant
Robert W. Hagopian - for appellee

Facts of the case

After he collided with a motorcycle in Acton, Massachusetts, Donald Montrym was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol (“DUI”). A state court later dismissed the DUI charges, but the Massachusetts Registrar of Motor Vehicles suspended Montrym’s driver’s license for ninety days because Montrym had refused to take a breathalyzer test at the time of his arrest. Montrym filed a class-action lawsuit in federal district court alleging that the statute that required drivers to submit to breathalyzer tests violated the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment because it did not provide for a pre-suspension hearing. The district court found in favor of Montrym and ordered the Registrar to return the plaintiffs’ licenses. The Registrar appealed directly to the Supreme Court.

Question

Does the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment permit a state agency to suspend a driver’s license based only on his refusal to take a breathalyzer test?

Media for Mackey v. Montrym

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 29, 1978 in Mackey v. Montrym

Warren E. Burger:

The case is submitted.

We'll hear arguments next in Mackey against Montrym.

Mr. Sikora you may proceed whenever you're ready.

Thurgood Marshall:

Mr. Attorney General, before you begin, is this the only brief you filed in this Court?

Just prove it.

Mitchell J. Sikora, Jr.:

No, Your Honor.

Thurgood Marshall:

Sir?

Mitchell J. Sikora, Jr.:

No, sir.

Thurgood Marshall:

Now, I know where I am.

Now, tell me the jurisdictional statement until that time.

This jurisdictional statement, is this all?

Did you ever file a brief?

This is just a proof here.

Mitchell J. Sikora, Jr.:

I'm -- I'm at a lost, Your Honor.

Here is our jurisdictional statement printed.

Thurgood Marshall:

Is it -- is it this script at the top here?

Mitchell J. Sikora, Jr.:

No, sir.

It's a regular printed paper.

Warren E. Burger:

Fully --

Mitchell J. Sikora, Jr.:

Yes, Your Honor.

Warren E. Burger:

Apparently, it didn't reach some of us.

Thurgood Marshall:

And -- becuase I never did get page 17 -- 17 (a) I don't have.

Well, okay, we'll find one.

Mitchell J. Sikora, Jr.:

I apologize to the Court.

Thurgood Marshall:

It doesn't have the page, it's incomplete.

Mitchell J. Sikora, Jr.:

Yes.

I apologize, Mr. Justice Marshall, we will investigate the problem and supply the Court with --

Warren E. Burger:

We'll make inquiry also but we do, perhaps, need that page which is missing from all of the copies here.

Thurgood Marshall:

This is opinion to the Court.

Mitchell J. Sikora, Jr.:

This isn't the -- what we have here as printed.