Harmon v. Brucker
355 U.S. 579 (1958)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Harmon v. Brucker, 355 U.S. 579 (1958)

Harmon v. Brucker

No. 80

Argued January 14-15, 1958

Decided March 3, 1958*

355 U.S. 579

Syllabus

The Secretary of the Army issued less than "honorable" discharge certificates to two soldiers, based on their activities prior to induction. This action was sustained by the Army Review Board under 38 U.S.C. § 693h. The soldiers sued in a Federal District Court for judgments declaring that the Secretary had exceeded his authority and directing him to issue "honorable" discharge certificates to them.

Held:

1. The District Court had jurisdiction to construe the applicable statutes to determine whether the Secretary had exceeded his authority. Pp. 355 U. S. 581-582.

2. The requirement of 10 U.S.C. § 652a that no person be discharged from military service "without a certificate of discharge" must be read in harmony with 38 U.S.C. § 693h, which requires that the findings of the Army Review Board "shall be based upon all available records of the [Army] relating to the person requesting such review"; the word "records" means records of military service; and the Secretary exceeded his authority in basing these discharges on the soldiers' activities prior to induction. Pp. 355 U. S. 582-583.

100 U.S.App.D.C. 190, 256, 243 F.2d 613, 834, reversed.

Page 355 U. S. 580

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