Tony and Susan Alamo Foundation v. Secretary of Labor

PETITIONER: Tony and Susan Alamo Foundation
RESPONDENT: Secretary of Labor
LOCATION: San Francisco Scrap Metals, Inc.

DOCKET NO.: 83-1935
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1981-1986)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

CITATION: 471 US 290 (1985)
ARGUED: Mar 25, 1985
DECIDED: Apr 23, 1985

Charles Fried - on behalf of the Respondent
Roy R. Gean, Jr. - on behalf of the Petitioners

Facts of the case


Media for Tony and Susan Alamo Foundation v. Secretary of Labor

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 25, 1985 in Tony and Susan Alamo Foundation v. Secretary of Labor

Warren E. Burger:

The Court will hear arguments first this morning in the Tony and Susan Alamo Foundation v. the Secretary of Labor.

Mr. Gean, you may proceed whenever you are ready.

Roy R. Gean, Jr.:

Mr. Chief Justice and may it please the Court, the Alamo Foundation was an outgrowth of the activities of Tony and Susan Alamo in the Los Angeles area of California.

These two persons were street workers.

They went about the streets of Los Angeles and the surrounding suburbs during the '60s for the purpose of reaching those people who had become derelicts or were down-and-outers, with the gospel of Christ.

It was their intention to be evangelists, and in fact they were, and later they became pastors.

As evangelists, they met many young people who were at that stage in our nation's history when the hippies were quite active, and they had some very definite ideas about dress, codes of conduct, and general activities.

They had definite ideas about the attention to the laws of the United States and concern for others, which was contrary to the best interest of society and their neighbors.

Tony and Susan Alamo in their evangelistic activities reached many of these young people.

On one occasion which led to the organization of the Foundation and these people, many testified three of the people testified in regard to these matters.

As representatives of the entire group, these young people were contacted by the foundation and experienced the salvation that came from the gospel of Christ.

On one occasion, a young man who had been a dope peddler had been converted, and he was living with a group of young people, 20 or 30 of them, that were involved in the same activities.

He asked Tony and Susan Alamo if they would come home with him, a place that he had rented, and from which he was selling dope in the Los Angeles area to the young people and the other persons of that community who would buy from this sort of a peddler.

Warren E. Burger:

Mr. Gean, how many persons are affected by the holding in this case in the Court of Appeals?

Roy R. Gean, Jr.:

Directly, Your Honor, with the Foundation, there are approximately 300 persons who are called associates.

I would term them, and they have been termed throughout many pages of the transcript and in the briefs, as pastors and evangelists.

Warren E. Burger:

How many in the whole pattern, the whole program?

Roy R. Gean, Jr.:

Your Honor, this is a pentacostal group and it is quite common among pentacostal groups to not keep records of membership.

They have many churches.

Warren E. Burger:

I'm not speaking of members.

I'm speaking of employees, the people employed who are directly affected.

Roy R. Gean, Jr.:

Those would be, Your Honor, the some 300 that are pastors and evangelists, and that is all that would be affected directly.

Of course, indirectly in other churches, or other religious activities throughout the United States, your decision here will have a far-reaching effect upon the activities of those people who are associated with like or similar foundations or like or similar religious churches.

Warren E. Burger:

Well, in round numbers, how many people?

Several thousand?

Roy R. Gean, Jr.:

I would say hundreds of thousands of people, Your Honor.

I would say those people that are associated with the church to which I belong, which has some 12 to 15 million in the United States.

Many of them are similar to my situation.

I think my church will be affected by your decision in this particular matter and the type of activities to which I am allowed to participate on a volunteer basis without the necessity of being required to take a wage or to have some benefit given to me because of my activities.

So I hope I am answering your question, Your Honor, by--