Taylor v. McElroy

PETITIONER: Taylor
RESPONDENT: McElroy
LOCATION: Sherry Frontenac

DOCKET NO.: 504
DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1958-1962)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

CITATION: 360 US 709 (1959)
ARGUED: Mar 31, 1959 / Apr 01, 1959
DECIDED: Jun 29, 1959

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Taylor v. McElroy

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 31, 1959 in Taylor v. McElroy

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 01, 1959 in Taylor v. McElroy

Earl Warren:

Number 504, Charles Allen Taylor, Petitioner, versus Neil McElroy et al.

Mr. Solicitor General, you may continue your argument.

J. Lee Rankin:

Mr. Chief Justice, may it please the Court.

I would like to first read a letter from the general counsel of the Defense Department addressed to Mr. Taylor.

During -- This is dated March 31st.

During the argument before the United States Supreme Court today, the question was raised as to whether in your case there was a difference between the standards of national interest and clearly consistent with the interest of national security.

I'm authorized to inform you that the acting Secretary of Defense in determining on December 31st, 1958 that you were eligible for clearance for access to defense information classified secret did not intend by its reference to the national interest to differentiate your status from that of all other employees eligible for such clearance including employees as to whom a board has made determination that access at such level is clearly consistent with the interest of national security.

In other words, your clearance has been determined to be clearly consistent with the interest of national security.

Mr. Rauh has responded to that as of April 1st referring to that fact that he telegraphed the Secretary on January 10th asking if the Secretary's action as of the prior date amounted to certain findings in regard to Mr. Taylor and the findings are reversing the earlier findings, withdrawing false charges, announcing that Mr. Taylor has never been a member of the Communist Party, never paid Communist Party dues and never attended Communist Party meetings and so forth and establishing that he has been truthful and so asserting.

The answer to that is that the Government does not say that this is making such findings.

Felix Frankfurter:

Would you mind -- be good enough to read me that letter out of the (Voice Overlap) --

J. Lee Rankin:

Yes, sir.

He refers to the January 10th telegram.

Felix Frankfurter:

This is in response to the letter you've read from the -- the general counsel.

J. Lee Rankin:

That's right.

Felix Frankfurter:

All right.

J. Lee Rankin:

And he says, in quoting that, “Does this amount to these findings.

One, reversing the earlier findings, two, withdrawing the false charges, three, announcing that Mr. Taylor has never been a member of the Communist Party, never paid Communist Party dues, never attended Communist Party meetings and so forth.

And four, establishing that he has been truthful in asserting -- in so asserting.”

And the answer of the Government is that this does not amount to such findings.

The answer is further as I told you yesterday that the prior proceedings are expunged as he was so advised.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

And now you said -- what was the first of those reversing the earlier findings?

J. Lee Rankin:

Reversing the earlier findings, the findings themselves.

And the action of the Secretary was to grant him clearance.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

What's the result of expunging?

J. Lee Rankin:

Is though they never were there.

That's exactly what happened in the Peters case in accordance with the direction of the Court and in Cole against Young.

And it's the usual practice in all these cases to erase them as though they never happened.

But he asks from informative new findings that these things were in his favor separate (Voice Overlap) --

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

Well, I -- I suppose reversing the finding is a little different from asking affirmative findings, isn't it?