BOSTON FIREFIGHTERS UNION LOCAL 718 v. BOSTON CHAPTER NAACP, INC.
Annotate this Case
468 U.S. 1206 (1984)
U.S. Supreme Court
BOSTON FIREFIGHTERS UNION LOCAL 718 v. BOSTON CHAPTER NAACP, INC. , 468 U.S. 1206 (1984)
468 U.S. 1206
BOSTON FIREFIGHTERS UNION, LOCAL 718, petitioner,
BOSTON CHAPTER, N.A.A.C.P., INC., et al.
BOSTON POLICE PATROLMEN'S ASSOCIATION INC., petitioner,
Pedro CASTRO et al.
Supreme Court of the United States
July 5, 1984.
The petitions for writs of certiorari are granted. The judgment is vacated, and the cases are remanded to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit for further consideration in light of Firefighters Local Union No. 1784 v. Stotts, 467 U.S. 561 (1984).
Opinion on remand, 749 F.2d 102.
Justice MARSHALL took no part in the consideration or decision of these cases.
Justice BLACKMUN, with whom Justice BRENNAN and Justice STEVENS join, dissenting.
The Court today logically applies yesterday's illogic. I cannot disagree with the Court's conclusion that the mootness issue in these cases is similar to some portions of the mootness issue in Firefighters v. Stotts, 467 U.S. 561 (1984). I therefore do not dispute that there is reason to think that the decision in Stotts bears on the Court of Appeals' conclusion that these cases are moot. In my view, however, the portions of Stotts relevant to the mootness issue in this case are demonstrably wrong; they depart sharply from our precedents and ignore the jurisdictional limits imposed by the "case or controversy" requirements of Article
III of the Constitution. The sooner they are forgotten, the earlier that the longstanding principles governing mootness doctrine can be resurrected. The Court of Appeals disposed of these cases in accordance with those principles, and I would let its ruling stand.
The controversy in these cases has remarkable similarity to the controversy in Stotts. It began when the city of Boston announced a plan to conduct a reduction in force as a response to its fiscal difficulties. The proposed reductions included layoffs in the Police and Fire Departments, both of which were operating under consent decrees to remedy past discrimination. Those decrees required the Departments to engage in preferential hiring of members of minority groups in order to raise the representation of minorities in the Departments to the level in the surrounding work force. The proposed layoffs were to be conducted on a " last-hired, first-fired" basis, and would have affected many minority persons hired under the consent decree.
Minority officers brought suit in federal court to enjoin the layoffs, and the court concluded that seniority-based layoffs would impede its efforts to remedy the past discrimination. Accordingly, the District Court enjoined the Police and Fire Departments from conducting layoffs in a manner that would reduce the percentage of minorities employed in those Departments. Castro v. Beecher, 522 F.Supp. 873 (Mass.1981). As a consequence, some nonminority employees were laid off ahead of minorities with less seniority. The State Civil Service Commission and the unions representing affected nonminority persons challenged the orders of the District Court. The Court of Appeals, however, affirmed. Boston Chapter, NAACP v. Beecher, 679 F.2d 965 (CA1 1982).
Following the Court of Appeals' decision and this Court's grant of certiorari to review it, 459 U.S. 967 (1982 ), the Massachusetts Legislature enacted the Tregor Act to address the situation. 1982 Mass.Acts, ch. 190. That legislation provided the city of Boston with new revenues, required reinstatement of all police and firefighters laid off during the reductions in force, secured those personnel against future layoffs for fiscal reasons, and required the maintenance of minimum-staffing levels in the Police and Fire Departments through June 30, 1983. This legislative action terminated all layoffs, and greatly diminished the risk that [468 U.S. 1206 , 1208]