Stirone v. United States

RESPONDENT: United States
LOCATION: Dry Docks at Reed, WV

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1958-1962)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

CITATION: 361 US 212 (1960)
ARGUED: Nov 09, 1959 / Nov 10, 1959
DECIDED: Jan 11, 1960

Facts of the case


Media for Stirone v. United States

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 09, 1959 in Stirone v. United States

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 10, 1959 in Stirone v. United States

Earl Warren:

Number 35, Nicholas A. Stirone, Petitioner, versus United States of America.

Mr. Barnett, you may proceed with your argument.

Wayne G. Barnett:

Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court.

Before returning to the question of the effect to the variance, I would like to clarify the distinction I made yesterday in speaking of the steel commerce issue between the scope of the Hobbs Act and the scope of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

I pointed out that the -- the dissenters in the lower court had relied upon Fair Labor Standards Act cases in support of the view that only in effect upon present commerce instead of future commerce would bring it within the act.

I noted that the Fair Labor Standards Act cases are -- that these were the so-called new construction doctrine cases were based upon an interpretation and application of the specific standard of that Act, the application to persons engaged in commerce.

And I noted that whatever the validity of the distinction for that purpose, it would not be applicable to an act which applied to activities affecting commerce.

Now when I'm saying that, I don't mean to imply the distinction is valid under the Fair Labor Standards Act and in fact the Court has at least greatly limited if not over -- overruled the new construction doctrine there.

In addition there's a second branch of coverage in the Fair Labor Standards Act to persons engaged in the production of goods for commerce?

And in applying that, the Court has in fact applied it to those engaged in operations which lead towards the future production of goods.

The case to which I refer is Warren-Bradshaw which is decided in our brief at -- at that page 34.

There the Act was held applicable to an independent contractor engaged in preliminary drilling of oil well.

With his equipment he could only go down to a stated depth, which would be short of the oil sand and the owner thereafter engaged other persons to bring in the well.

Nevertheless, the employees of the contractor doing the first stage of drilling were held to be covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act because their operations were necessary to the future production of oil and we think the relationship of the construction of the steel plant's future production of steel is virtually the same and it may well be that the Fair Labor Standards Act would apply to Rider's employees.

I don't argue that case here, but in relying on the broader scope of the Hobbs Act, I don't mean to imply that the -- the Labor Standards Act would not apply.

Returning to the variant point, I would like -- if I may briefly to outline our position, I think there are really two questions.

The first is whether he was in fact convicted for a crime for which he was not indicted, whether there are two crimes and if that is so, as I said yesterday, we would agree that the judgment should be reversed.

In our view, there is very little question but that the extortion was one crime and the effect on commerce is simply of the jurisdictional element to make -- bring it within the federal jurisdiction.

And in fact, we think the indictment would not be fatally defective if it did not allege at all the specific channels though which interstate commerce was affected.

Now, it is true here as Mr. Justice Whittaker pointed out that we did allege one of the means by which that effect was felt and that might in a particular case work to the prejudice of the -- of the defendant by misleading him as to what he has to prepare for.

Do you think that in bringing this indictment (Inaudible)

Wayne G. Barnett:

Well, as I said yesterday, we do allege the fact that the concrete goes into the steel mill.

But I have to concede that we do not allege the fact that the steel products would go into interstate commerce, and in that sense we have not alleged the full -- all of the elements that we have to prove on that.

It may be that the act was noticed.

Potter Stewart:

Excuse me.

Wayne G. Barnett:

I'm sorry.

Potter Stewart:

I beg your pardon.

The movement of the concrete itself was intrastate, wasn't it?

Wayne G. Barnett:

Oh yes, it was sir.

His plant was located just a few miles from the --