Pullman-Standard v. Swint

PETITIONER: Pullman-Standard
LOCATION: Furnace Woods School

DOCKET NO.: 80-1190
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1981-1986)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

CITATION: 456 US 273 (1982)
ARGUED: Jan 19, 1982
DECIDED: Apr 27, 1982

Elaine R. Jones - on behalf of the Respondents
Michael H. Gottesman - on behalf of the Petitioners

Facts of the case


Media for Pullman-Standard v. Swint

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 19, 1982 in Pullman-Standard v. Swint

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - April 27, 1982 in Pullman-Standard v. Swint

Warren E. Burger:

Justice White has two judgments and opinions for the Court to announce.

Byron R. White:

The first case I have is No. 80-1190, Pullman-Standard against Swint.

It's here from the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

It involves the case under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 brought by employees against both their union and their employer.

The claim was that the seniority system to which they were subject was racially discriminatory.

Under 703(h) of the Act to win the case, it wasn't enough to show that the seniority system had a discriminatory impact.

It was necessary to show a discriminatory intent.

After a long trial, the District Court held that -- that the seniority system was not the result of a discriminatory racial purpose and that the differences, the seniority system imposed were not tainted by a racially discriminatory intent.

The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that there was such an intent and that the seniority system violated the Act. We granted certiorari and we now reverse.

For the reasons we stated in an opinion we have filed, we think the Court of Appeals disregarded the admonition of Rule 52(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure which requires that the findings of the District Court not be set aside unless they are clearly erroneous.

Justice Stevens has filed a statement concurring in part.

Justice Marshall has filed a dissenting opinion in which Justice Blackmun has joined in part.