Black v. Cutter Laboratories
351 U.S. 292 (1956)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Black v. Cutter Laboratories, 351 U.S. 292 (1956)

Black v. Cutter Laboratories

No. 92

Argued April 26, 1956

Decided June 4, 1956

351 U.S. 292

Syllabus

A corporation manufacturing pharmaceutical and biological products in California discharged an employee on the grounds that she was an active member of the Communist Party and had falsified her application for employment. Her union sought her reinstatement before an arbitration board pursuant to a valid collective bargaining agreement which authorized discharge for "just cause" only. Finding that she was an active member of the Communist Party and had falsified her application for employment, but that these grounds for discharge had been waived by the employer and that she actually was discharged for union activities, the board ordered her reinstatement. The lower California courts affirmed this order, but the Supreme Court of California reversed. Certiorari was granted by this Court on a petition contending that the decision and opinion violated the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. Upon an analysis of the record, however, it appeared that the Supreme Court of California construed the term "just cause" to embrace membership in the Communist Party, and refused to apply a doctrine of waiver.

Held: the decision involves only California's construction of a local contract under local law, no substantial federal question is presented, and the writ of certiorari is dismissed. Pp. 351 U. S. 293-300.

(a) This Court reviews judgments, not statements in opinions, and it will not pass on federal questions discussed in the opinion of a state court where it appears that the judgment rests on adequate state grounds. Pp. 351 U. S. 297-298.

(b) The scope of review of the findings of the arbitration board under the California Arbitration Act is a matter exclusively for the courts of that State. P. 351 U. S. 298.

(c) The Supreme Court of California construed the term "just cause" to embrace membership in the Communist Party, and refused to apply a doctrine of waiver. Pp. 351 U. S. 298-299.

(d) Such a decision involves only California's construction of a local contract under local law, and no substantial federal question is presented. P. 351 U. S. 299.

Writ of certiorari dismissed.

Page 351 U. S. 293

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