Supreme Court of the United States
Case No. 15–04, 100 M.S.Ct. 103
taterdatuba, J. delivered the opinion of the Court, in which the Chief Justice joined.
Although this law contains very little in its methods and implementation, its impact is great and far reaching as it applies to all federal employees. This Court will not comment on the usefulness or the correctness of the idea of this law to any degree in favor or against. However, this Court does seriously maintain its responsibility to uphold and interpret the Constitution and apply it to the laws and resolutions passed by the Legislatures and the Executives of this nation which ensures accountability and legal respect for our foundational ideals in our law books and in our governments. In this respect, utilizing this most solemn duty, the Court does develop an opinion toward this law.
Firstly, in the opinion of this Court, the petitioner does have standing as this Court does not require actual injury to have legal standing for the purposes of this government simulation. This was decided in In re: Controlled Substances Act and the Court does not reverse its opinion on that matter. The majority of this Court finds that the Federal Accountability Internal Revenue Act (henceforth referred to as the FAIR Act) is wholly unconstitutional as the law provides us with a blatant and glaring violation of the Due Process rights of federal employees. Due to this violation, we affirm the challenge presented by the petitioner and agree that Article I of the FAIR Act is in violation of the United States Constitution.
Article I of the FAIR Act states “Federal employees who owe federal taxes and are more than a year past due will be ineligible for federal government employment.” This provision seeks to punish federal employees who have failed to pay federal taxes collected by the Internal Revenue Service under the auspices and command of the Department of the Treasury. This provision does not provide for the explicit notification of termination to the federal employee in arrears nor does it allow for employees time to counter the government’s claims and evidence before their employment is summarily terminated. In 5 U.S.C. § 7513, federal employees who are subjected to possible termination are entitled to:
(1) At least 30 days’ advance written notice, unless there is reasonable cause to believe the employee has committed a crime for which a sentence of imprisonment may be imposed, stating the specific reasons for the proposed action,
(2) A reasonable time, but not less than 7 days, to answer orally and in writing and to furnish affidavits and other documentary evidence in support of the answer,
(3) Be represented by an attorney or other representative,
(4) A written decision and the specific reasons therefor at the earliest practicable date.
There are several more passages within 5 U.S.C. Part III, Subpart F that reaffirm over and over again in differing scenarios the rights of federal employees. The law as it existed before the FAIR Act provided for a legal process when subjecting a federal employee with disciplinary action and/ or termination. Unlike the above-cited passage of United States Code, the FAIR Act provides no due process of law.
In Cleveland Bd. of Ed. v. Loudermill, 470 U.S. 532, 541 (1985), the Court found that “while the legislature may elect not to confer a property interest in [public] employment, it may not constitutionally authorize the deprivation of such an interest, once conferred, without appropriate procedural safeguards” and as such the 14th Amendment applies this to both the federal and state governments.
This Court now reaffirms the decision that the due process rights found in the United States Constitution must be maintained in the termination of employment by a government and the law before us that was passed by the Legislature and agreed to by the Executive does not meet the standard set by the Constitution and affirmed by precedent. The FAIR Act does not provide the constitutionally required due process rights of federal employees and therefore cannot legally stand.
The legislatures and the executives of this nation must be constantly mindful of the rights set forth by the United States Constitution, which are applied to both the federal and state governments, and be vigilant and wary of bills and resolutions that either omit those rights or explicitly deny them to the People of the United States. In the realm of Law and Government, silence in the Law can be just as oppressive, dangerous, and damaging as the explicit words and actions of those in power.
It is so ordered.
cmac__17, J., dissented without opinion.