Sugarman v. Dougall,
413 U.S. 634 (1973)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Sugarman v. Dougall, 413 U.S. 634 (1973)

Sugarman v. Dougall

No. 71-1222

Argued January 8, 1973

Decided June 25, 1973

413 U.S. 634


Section 53 of the New York Civil Service Law provides that only United States citizens may hold permanent positions in the competitive class of the state civil service. The District Court concluded that the statute was violative of the Fourteenth Amendment and the Supremacy Clause, and granted injunctive relief.


1. Section 53 violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment since, in the context of New York's statutory civil service scheme, it sweeps indiscriminately, and is not narrowly limited to the accomplishment of substantial state interests. Pp. 413 U. S. 638-643.

2. The "special public interest" doctrine has no applicability in this case. Pp. 413 U. S. 643-645.

3. Nor can the citizenship requirement be justified on the unproved premise that aliens are less permanent employees than citizens, or on other grounds asserted by appellants. Pp. 413 U. S. 645-646.

4. While the State has an interest in defining its political community, and a corresponding interest in establishing the qualifications for persons holding state elective or important nonelective executive, legislative, and judicial positions, the broad citizenship requirement established by § 53 cannot be justified on this basis. Pp. 413 U. S. 646-649.

339 F.Supp. 906, affirmed.

BLACKMUN, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BURGER, C.J., and DOUGLAS, BRENNAN, STEWART, WHITE, MARSHALL, and POWELL, JJ., joined. REHNQUIST, J., filed a dissenting opinion, post, p. 413 U. S. 649.

Page 413 U. S. 635

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