Wieman v. Updegraff - 344 U.S. 183 (1952)
U.S. Supreme Court
Wieman v. Updegraff, 344 U.S. 183 (1952)
Wieman v. Updegraff
Argued October 16, 1952
Decided December 15, 1952
344 U.S. 183
Oklahoma Stat.Ann., 1950, Tit. 51, §§37.1-37.8 (1952 Supp.), requires each state officer and employee, as a condition of his employment, to take a "loyalty oath," stating, inter alia, that he is not, and has not been for the preceding five years, a member of any organization listed by the Attorney General of the United States as "communist front" or "subversive." As construed by the Supreme Court of Oklahoma, it excludes persons from state employment solely on the basis of membership in such organizations, regardless of their knowledge concerning the activities and purposes of the organizations to which they had belonged.
Held: As thus construed, the Act violates the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Pp. 344 U. S. 184-192.
(a) The Due Process Clause does not permit a state, in attempting to bar disloyal persons from its employment on the basis of organizational membership, to classify innocent with knowing association. Adler v. Board of Education, 342 U. S. 485; Gerende v. Board of Supervisors, 341 U. S. 56; and Garner v. Board of Public Works, 341 U. S. 716, distinguished. Pp. 344 U. S. 188-191.
(b) The protection of the Due Process Clause extends to a public servant whose exclusion pursuant to a statue is patently arbitrary or discriminatory. Adler v. Board of Education, 342 U. S. 485, and United Public Workers v. Mitchell, 330 U. S. 75, distinguished. Pp. 344 U. S. 191-192.
205 Okla. 301, 237 P. 2d 131, reversed.
The Supreme Court of Oklahoma affirmed the judgment of a trial court sustaining the constitutionality of Okla.Stat.Ann., 1950, Tit. 51, §§ 37.1-37.8 (1952 Supp.), and enjoining payment of salaries to state employees who had refused to subscribe to the "loyalty oath" required by that Act. 205 Okla. 301, 237 P. 2d 131. On appeal to this Court, reversed, p. 344 U. S. 192.