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U.S. Supreme Court

Super Tire Engineering Co. v. McCorkle, 416 U.S. 115 (1974)

Super Tire Engineering Co. v. McCorkle

No. 72-1554

Argued January 15, 1974

Decided April 16, 1974

416 U.S. 115


Workers engaged in an economic strike in New Jersey are eligible for public assistance through state welfare programs. Petitioners, employers whose plants were struck, brought this suit for injunctive and declaratory relief against such eligibility, claiming that the regulations according benefits to striking workers were invalid because they interfered with the federal labor policy of free collective bargaining expressed in the Labor Management Relations Act and with other federal policy set forth in the Social Security Act. Before the case was tried, the labor dispute was settled and the strike ended. The District Court, rejecting the respondent union's contention that the case had been mooted, dismissed the complaint on the grounds that Congress was the appropriate forum for the claim and that the challenged laws did not violate the Supremacy Clause. The Court of Appeals remanded the case with instructions to vacate and dismiss for mootness.

Held: To the extent that declaratory relief was sought, the case or controversy requirement of Art. III, § 2, and the Declaratory Judgment Act is completely satisfied. Pp. 416 U. S. 121-127.

(a) Even though the case for an injunction dissolved with the settlement of the strike and the strikers' return to work, the petitioners and respondent state officials may still retain sufficient interests and injury to justify declaratory relief. Pp. 416 U. S. 121-122.

(b) The challenged governmental action is not contingent upon executive discretion and has not ceased, but is a fixed and definite policy which, by its continuing presence, casts what may well be a substantial adverse effect on petitioners' interests. Oil Workers Unions v. Missouri, 361 U. S. 363; Harris v. Battle, 348 U.S. 803, distinguished. Pp. 416 U. S. 122-125.

(c) If judicial review were conditioned on the existence of an economic strike, this case most certainly would be of the type presenting an issue "capable of repetition, yet evading review," Southern Pac. Terminal Co. v. ICC, 219 U. S. 498, 219 U. S. 515. It suffices that the litigant show an immediate and definite governmental chanrobles.com-red

Page 416 U. S. 116

action or policy that has adversely affected and continues to affect a present interest, since to require the presence of an active labor dispute would unduly tax the litigant by slighting claims of adverse injury from actual or immediately threatened governmental action, and since otherwise a state policy affecting a collective bargaining arrangement but not involving a fine or other penalty could be only rarely adjudicated, and the purposes of the Declaratory Judgment Act would be frustrated. Pp. 416 U. S. 125-127.

469 F.2d 911, reversed and remanded.

BLACKMUN, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which DOUGLAS, BRENNAN, WHITE, and MARSHALL, JJ., joined. STEWART, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which BURGER, C J., and POWELL and REHNQUIST, JJ., joined, post, p. 416 U. S. 127.


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