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Ramspeck v. Federal Trial Examiners Conference

Supreme Court of the United States

January 9, 12, 1953, Argued ; March 9, 1953, Decided

No. 278

Opinion

 [*129]  [**572]  [***876]    MR. JUSTICE MINTON delivered the opinion of the Court.

The present suit was brought by the Federal Trial Examiners Conference, 1 an unincorporated association of trial examiners, and by a number of individual trial examiners, against the members of the United States Civil Service Commission and the National Labor Relations Board.  The plaintiffs, who had been appointed pursuant to § 11 of the Administrative Procedure Act, 60 Stat. 244, 5 U. S. C. § 1010, sought a declaratory judgment that certain rules relating to their promotion, compensation, tenure, and the assignment of cases, promulgated by the Civil Service Commission pursuant to § 11, were invalid, and asked that their enforcement be enjoined.  The District Court held that these four rules were invalid, interpreting § 11 as requiring: (1) that  [*130]  hearing examiners employed by a particular federal administrative agency must  [****4]  be placed in the same salary grade; (2) that a hearing examiner may not be promoted from one salary grade to another within the same agency; (3) that hearing examiners must be assigned to cases in mechanical rotation without regard to the difficulty or importance of particular cases or the competence or experience of particular examiners; and (4) that the employment of hearing examiners may not be terminated by reduction in force procedures where there is a lack of work or of funds with which to pay them. The District Court granted a permanent injunction against the enforcement of these four Civil Service rules, 104 F.Supp. 734. The Court of Appeals affirmed in a short per curiam opinion, one judge dissenting. 91 U. S. App. D. C. 164, 202 F.2d 312. We granted certiorari, 344 U.S. 853.

Prior to the passage of the Administrative Procedure Act, hearing examiners' tenure  [****5]  and status were governed by the Classification Act of 1923, as amended. Under the Classification Act, as employees of an agency, their classification was determined by the ratings given them by the agency, and their compensation and promotion depended upon their classification. The examiners were in a dependent status.

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345 U.S. 128 *; 73 S. Ct. 570 **; 97 L. Ed. 872 ***; 1953 U.S. LEXIS 2621 ****; 31 L.R.R.M. 2437

RAMSPECK ET AL. v. FEDERAL TRIAL EXAMINERS CONFERENCE ET AL.

Prior History: CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CIRCUIT.

The District Court enjoined enforcement of four Civil Service Rules concerning trial examiners. 104 F.Supp. 734. The Court of Appeals affirmed. 91 U. S. App. D. C. 164, 202 F.2d 312. This Court granted certiorari. 344 U.S. 853. Reversed and remanded with directions to dismiss the complaint, p. 143.

Disposition:  91 U. S. App. D. C. 164, 202 F.2d 312, reversed.

CORE TERMS

hearing examiner, Classification, promotion, cases, grade, regulations, reduction in force, agencies, ratings, recommendations, assigned, rotation, Administrative Procedure Act, classified, Retention, positions, tenure, appointed, Appeals, filled, Chief Law, reasons, salary, qualifications, mechanical, employees, register, invalid, administrative agency, personnel

Administrative Law, Agency Adjudication, Presiding Officers, Duties & Powers, Governments, Federal Government, Employees & Officials, General Overview, Separation of Powers, Legislative Controls, Explicit Delegation of Authority, Agency Rulemaking, Rule Application & Interpretation, Validity