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Vergara v. Hampton

decided: August 24, 1978.


Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 73-C-2537 - James B. Parsons, Chief Judge .

Before Pell and Tone, Circuit Judges, and Campbell, Senior District Judge.*fn*

Author: Tone

In Hampton v. Mow Sun Wong, 426 U.S. 88, 96 S. Ct. 1895, 48 L. Ed. 2d 495 (1976), the Court held that a Civil Service Commission regulation barring lawfully admitted resident aliens from the federal competitive civil service deprived those aliens of due process rights. In so holding, the Court assumed but did not decide that the same bar would not be unconstitutional if it were imposed by Congress or the President. The President then issued an executive order renewing the bar.*fn1 The question before us is the validity of that order. Two district courts, one deciding the Mow Sun Wong case on remand, and the other a three-judge court in the First Circuit, have held the order valid. Mow Sun Wong v. Hampton, 435 F. Supp. 37 (N.D.Cal.1977), appeal pending, 9th Cir., No. 77-2649; Santin Ramos v. U. S. Civil Service Commission, 430 F. Supp. 422 (D.P.R.1977) (District Judge Toledo, with Circuit Judge Campbell and District Judge Pesquera). We reach the same result.

Plaintiffs are three lawfully admitted resident aliens who allege that they wish to take civil service examinations for federal employment, one as an auditor, the second as an office assistant, and the third as a carpenter. One of them has executed a declaration of intent to become a United States citizen. All aver that they are prepared to swear permanent allegiance to the United States. They allege that the executive order exceeds the President's constitutional and statutory authority and violates 42 U.S.C. § 1981 and the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment. Plaintiffs seek to represent a class consisting of all lawfully admitted aliens residing in Illinois who desire civil service employment. The District Court denied class status and, pursuant to defendants' motions to dismiss and for summary judgment, entered judgment against plaintiffs.*fn2

In the executive order, the President stated that he was acting "by virtue of the authority vested in (him) by the Constitution and statutes of the United States," including 5 U.S.C. §§ 3301 and 3302. The order is explained in identical letters of the same date, September 2, 1976, from the President to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate, in which the President described the Mow Sun Wong case as stating "that either the Congress or the President might issue a broad prohibition against the employment of aliens in the civil service, but (holding) that neither the Congress nor the President had mandated the general prohibition contained in the regulations of the Commission."*fn3


Class Representation

The first question is whether the District Court properly refused to allow the action to proceed as a class action. Plaintiffs sought to bring the action on behalf of themselves "and all other nationals and citizens of foreign states living in Illinois who have been admitted into Illinois for permanent residence and who desire to apply and be eligible for appointment in the United States Civil Service." We hold that plaintiffs were entitled to a class determination in their favor.

The prerequisites to bringing a class action under Rule 23(b)(2), Fed.R.Civ.P., were established. The sole purpose of this action is to determine a legal question which is common to every member of the proposed class, who are in the same position with respect to that question as are plaintiffs.*fn4 It was unnecessary in circumstances such as these to establish that every member of the class "desired" to obtain Civil Service employment. Cf. Sosna v. Iowa, 419 U.S. 393, 397, 95 S. Ct. 553, 42 L. Ed. 2d 532 (1975). The numerosity requirement was satisfied by the census figures as to resident aliens in Illinois and the number of federal Civil Service positions in that state.*fn5 Cf. Senter v. General Motors Corp., 532 F.2d 511, 522-523 (6th Cir. 1976). The difficulty in determining the exact number of class members does not preclude class certification. Doe v. Charleston Area Medical Center, Inc., 529 F.2d 638, 644-645 (4th Cir. 1975). Cf. Jones v. Diamond, 519 F.2d 1090, 1100 (5th Cir. 1975). Finally, whatever may be the rule elsewhere, See Martinez v. Richardson, 472 F.2d 1121, 1127 (10th Cir. 1973); Ihrke v. Northern States Power Co., 459 F.2d 566, 572 (8th Cir.), Vacated on other grounds, 409 U.S. 815, 93 S. Ct. 66, 34 L. Ed. 2d 72 (1972), the rule in this circuit is that class certification may not be denied on the ground of lack of "need" if the prerequisites of Rule 23 are met. Fujishima v. Board of Education, 460 F.2d 1355, 1360 (7th Cir. 1975); Vickers v. Trainor, 546 F.2d 739, 747 (7th Cir. 1976). Accordingly, this action will proceed as a class action.


The President's Constitutional and Statutory Authority

Plaintiffs' first ground of attack on the executive order is that issuance of the order was beyond the President's constitutional and statutory authority. We agree with Judge Peckham's answer to this same argument in his opinion on remand in the Mow Sun Wong case, Supra, 435 F. Supp. at 41-42, Viz., that the question of authority was settled by the Supreme Court's opinion in that case.

The controlling question in the Supreme Court's analysis in Mow Sun Wong was whether the national interests asserted by the government to justify the Civil Service Commission's citizenship requirement, 426 U.S. at 103-104, 96 S. Ct. 1895, were interests on which that agency could properly rely as a basis for that requirement, Id. at 113-114, 96 S. Ct. 1895. The Court held they were not, Id. at 114-116, 96 S. Ct. 1895, and that therefore the adoption of the citizenship requirement deprived the plaintiff aliens of a liberty interest without due process, Id. at 116, 96 S. Ct. 1895.

In order to reach that controlling question, it was necessary to determine, Inter alia, whether Congress had authorized the President, who had delegated his authority to Civil Service Commission, to adopt the citizenship requirement. The respondent aliens had argued in their brief in the Supreme Court that Congress had not so authorized the President. Brief for Respondent in Hampton v. Mow Sun Wong, 426 U.S. 88, 96 S. Ct. 1895, 48 L. Ed. 2d 495 (1976), at 53, Et seq. The Court held, 426 U.S. at 112-113, 96 S. Ct. 1895, that Congress had done so through 5 U.S.C. § 3301(1), which gives the President the authority to "prescribe such regulations for the admission of individuals into the civil service in the executive branch as will best promote the efficiency of that service." The President in turn had delegated the authority to the Commission.*fn6 If the Court had believed the statutory delegation to the President was insufficient to authorize the regulation, the case would presumably have been decided on that statutory ground, and the Court would not have reached the constitutional issue. See Jalil v. Hampton, 148 U.S.App.D.C. 415, 419, 460 F.2d 923, 927, Cert. denied, 409 U.S. 887, 93 S. Ct. 112, 34 L. Ed. 2d 144 (1972) (question of Civil Service Commission's authority under 5 U.S.C. § 3301 and Executive Order No. 10,577 to adopt the regulation later held unconstitutional in Mow Sun Wong must be determined before reaching constitutional issue); See also Ashwander v. TVA, 297 U.S. 288, 341, 347, 348, 56 S. Ct. 466, 80 L. Ed. 688 (1936) (Brandeis, J., concurring). We need not rely on this presumption, however, because the Court stated that it had "no doubt" ...

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