Vance v. Bradley

PETITIONER: Cyrus Vance, Secretary of State et al.
RESPONDENT: Holbrook Bradley et al.
LOCATION: US Department of State

DOCKET NO.: 77-1254
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT:

CITATION: 440 US 93 (1979)
ARGUED: Nov 27, 1978
DECIDED: Feb 22, 1979

ADVOCATES:
Wade H. McCree, Jr. - argued the cause for the appellants
Zona F. Hostetler - argued the cause for the appellees

Facts of the case

Section 632 of the Foreign Service Act of 1946 required that members of the Foreign Service retirement system retire at 60. No mandatory retirement age was specified for employees covered by the Civil Service retirement system. Holbrook Bradley, a member of the Foreign Service retirement system, challenged the statute in United States District Court for the District of Columbia and prevailed. The government appealed to the Supreme Court.

Question

Did Section 632 of the Foreign Service Act of 1946 violate the Equal Protection component of the Due Process clause of the Fifth Amendment?

Media for Vance v. Bradley

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 27, 1978 in Vance v. Bradley

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - February 22, 1979 in Vance v. Bradley

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

The opinion in 77-1254, Vance, Secretary of State versus Bradley will be announced by Mr. Justice White.

Byron R. White:

Section 632 of the Foreign Service Act of 1946 requires that all employees subject to the Foreign Service Retirement System retire at age 60.

In contrast, at the time the suit was brought, government employee is subject to the Civil Service Retirement and Disability System, were not required to retire until age 70.

And now any retirement age has been removed.

A three-judge court held that this difference in retirement ages discriminated against foreign service personnel and that the discrimination was an invidious one that violated the equal protection component of the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

We noted probable jurisdiction and we reversed that judgment.

Our reasons are elaborated in the opinion that has been filed with the clerk.

Mr. Justice Marshall has filed a dissenting opinion.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

Thank you, Mr. Justice White.