A statute of Oklahoma required public employees to take an oath that, among other things, they were not, for five years previous had not been, and would not become, affiliated with an organization which advocated the overthrow of the Government of the United States or of the State of Oklahoma by force or violence or other unlawful means or which had been determined by the United States Attorney General to be a Communist front or subversive organization. A citizen and taxpayer sought to enjoin payment of salaries to teachers at Oklahoma A. & M. College who had not taken the oath. The teachers intervened and asserted, inter alia, that this part of the required oath violated the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Federal Constitution. The Supreme Court of Oklahoma limited the proscribed organizations to those listed by the attorney general prior to the effective date of the statute, and upheld the constitutionality of the oath requirement. However, the court refused to permit the teachers to take the oath as thus construed and also denied a petition for rehearing which included a plea that such refusal was violative of due process. On appeal by the intervenors, held, the oath requirement violates the Fourteenth Amendment. The refusal to permit appellants to take the oath as interpreted constitutes a holding that knowledge of the purposes of the proscribed organizations is not a factor under the Oklahoma statute. Thus, since membership in such organizations alone disqualifies, the statute is an assertion of arbitrary power. Wieman v. Updegraff, 344 U.S. 183, 73 S.Ct. 215 (1952).
James W. Callison, S.Ed.,
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW-DUE PROCESS-VALIDITY OF STATE STATUTE REQUIRING PUBLIC EMPLOYEES TO TAKE LOYALTY OATH,
Mich. L. Rev.
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