National Labor Relations Board v. Walton Manufacturing Company

PETITIONER: Labor Board
RESPONDENT: Walton Manufacturing Company
LOCATION: Allen-Bradley Clock Tower

DOCKET NO.: 77
DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1962)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

CITATION: 369 US 404 (1962)
ARGUED: Mar 19, 1962 / Mar 20, 1962
DECIDED: Apr 09, 1962

Facts of the case

Question

Media for National Labor Relations Board v. Walton Manufacturing Company

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument, Part 1: NLRB v. Florida Citrus Canners - March 19, 1962 (94) in National Labor Relations Board v. Walton Manufacturing Company
Audio Transcription for Oral Argument, Part 2: NLRB v. Florida Citrus Canners - March 20, 1962 (94) in National Labor Relations Board v. Walton Manufacturing Company

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument, NLRB v. Walton Manufacturing Company - March 19, 1962 (77) in National Labor Relations Board v. Walton Manufacturing Company

Earl Warren:

Number 77, N.L.R.B, Petitioner, versus Walton Manufacturing Company.

Mr. Come.

Norton J. Come:

May it please the Court.

This case is here on certiorari to the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to review the judgement of that court denying enforcement of a Board order requiring the respondent, Walton Manufacturing Company, to reinstate with back pay 13 employees who the Board found were discriminated against because of their union activity.

The basic question is whether the Fifth Circuit in concluding that the Board's findings were not supported by substantial evidence on the record as a whole, grossly misapplied the standard of review enunciated by this Court in the Universal Camera case.

Now, in Universal Camera, which was decided by this Court 11 years ago, the Court held that a reviewing court in determining whether there is substantial evidence as a whole to support the Board's findings of fact.

And incidentally, Section 10 (e) of the National Labor Relations Act provides that if there is substantial evidence on the record as a whole to support the Board's findings of fact, those findings shall be conclusive on review.

Universal Camera, this Court held that in determining this question, the reviewing court is entitled to look not only at the evidence which supports the Board's view but also at that which attracts from it.

And it may set aside, I'm quoting now, “A Board decision when it cannot conscientiously find that the evidence supporting that decision is substantial when viewed in the light of the record in its entirely furnishes.”

However, at the same time, the Court pointed out that this does not mean and I'm quoting again, “That a court may displace a Board's choice between two fairly conflicting views even though the court would justifiably have made a different choice, had the matter had been before it de novo.”

In other words as we read Universal Camera and has all of the other Courts of Appeals have been reading it.

It recognizes that the task of making determinations of credibility and of weighing the conflicting inferences to be drawn from credited testimony, a task which Congress entrusted primarily to the Board.

The function of the reviewing court is not to redetermine these questions de novo but merely to determine whether the choice made by the Board was a reasonable one and the like of the entire record.

Now, the Fifth Circuit, as I shall attempt to show, has had difficulty in adhering to this standard particularly in discriminatory discharged cases.

In those cases in particular, its practice is to set aside the Board's finding of unlawful motivation where the employer can point the some incident or shortcoming on the part of the employee that might have been the cause of the discharge.

The Board cannot draw the contrary inference unless there is evidence that directly contradicts the cost assigned by the employer.

Now, this practice, we submit, in effect denies the Board the power to choose between two fairly conflicting views and it's contrary to our reading of the standard of review as enunciated in Universal Camera.

Felix Frankfurter:

I thought you said that the Fifth Circuit has had difficulty.

Norton J. Come:

Yes --

Felix Frankfurter:

Are you suggesting, however, privilege this -- let's put it, that the Fifth Circuit have an stigma on this subject, there's a particular of the 0551.

You're not suggesting about a series of cases that this Court -- the Fifth Circuit, it gets throughout line from all the other circuits that there must be something, something that matters, some ingredient let's say infuses to their judgment or some ingredient to be found either appropriate, is that what you're saying?

What are you saying?

Or are you suggesting that in this case --

Norton J. Come:

I'm --

Felix Frankfurter:

-- court will practice under good faith.

The Department has examind, the Board has examined that (Inaudible).

But to me, it takes a lot of efforts but I should direct myself to the general asset (Inaudible) one thing or another (Inaudible) by this Board or in the particular case, the Board's view that they have (Inaudible) this is the record.

Norton J. Come:

Well, Your Honor, we feel that they have misevaluated the record in this particular case.

However, we would not be here if it were limited to this particular case.

This is a problem that has been going on since the Universal Camera decision.