In 1948, pursuant to an amendment to its charter, Los Angeles passed an ordinance which provided that all city employees must (1) take an oath that they did not espouse, and had not espoused within five years prior to the effective date of the ordinance, the forceful overthrow of the government; that they were not, nor had they been within the same period, affiliated with a group espousing such aims, and that they would not join any such group while in city employ, and (2) execute an affidavit relating whether they had ever belonged to the Communist Party, and if so the dates of their membership. Two appellants took the oath but refused to execute the affidavit; the remaining fifteen appellants refused to comply with either part of the ordinance. All were discharged, and sued for reinstatement and back salaries. The California Court of Appeals denied relief; certiorari was granted by the United States Supreme Court. Held, affirmed, Justices Black and Douglas dissenting, and Justices Frankfurter and Burton dissenting in part. The ordinance was a reasonable regulation of its employees by the city; it did not constitute a bill of attainder, or deny the appellants due process of law. Garner v. Board of Public Works of City of Los Angeles, 341 U.S. 716, 71 S.Ct. 909 (1951).
James I. Huston,
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW-DUE PROCESS-BILL OF ATTAINDER-LOYALTY OATHS FOR CITY EMPLOYEE,
Mich. L. Rev.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mlr/vol50/iss3/10