AUTO WORKERS V. SCOFIELD, 382 U. S. 205 (1965)

382 U. S. 205

U.S. Supreme Court

Auto Workers v. Scofield, 382 U.S. 205 (1965)

International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace & Agricultural

Implement Workers of America, AFL-CIO, Local 283 v. Scofield

No. 18

Argued October 20, 1965

Decided December 7, 1965*

382 U.S. 205


In No. 18, a union was charged by individual employees with violations of the National Labor Relations Act, and the Board's General Counsel issued a complaint. The NLRB dismissed the complaint after a hearing, and the individual employees sought review in the Court of Appeals. The NLRB filed an answer supporting the decision. A motion of intervention filed by the union, although not opposed by the NLRB or the employees, was denied by the court. The union was permitted to file a brief as amicus curiae. In No. 53, a union filed charges against a company and the Board's General Counsel issued a complaint. After a hearing, the NLRB issued a cease and desist order against the company, which petitioned for review in the Court of Appeals. The NLRB cross-petitioned for enforcement, and the union moved to intervene. Both the company and the NLRB opposed intervention. The court denied the motion and authorized the union to file an amicus brief. Certiorari was granted in both cases.


1. Although, under 28 U.S. C. §1254(1), only a "party" to a case in the Court of Appeals (which does not include an amicus curiae) may seek review here, our decision makes clear that the petitioners had a right to obtain review of the orders denying intervention. Pp. 382 U. S. 208-209.

2. The successful charged party in NLRB proceedings has the right to intervene in appellate proceedings brought by the unsuccessful charging party. Pp. 382 U. S. 209-217.

(a) While the Act does not specifically provide for intervention at the appellate level, most courts have recognized the right of the successful charged party to intervene. P. 382 U. S. 211. clubjuris

Page 382 U. S. 206

(b) To permit such intervention in the initial appellate review proceedings will avoid duplication of proceedings, adhere to the goal of obtaining just results with a minimum of technical requirements, accomplish the objective of prompt determination of labor disputes, insure fairness to the would-be intervenor, and will not affect this Court's discretionary review powers nor delay or complicate appellate procedures. Pp. 382 U. S. 212-216.

(c) The element of fortuity, whereby the unsuccessful charged party has a right to review but the successful charged party does not, is removed. Pp. 382 U. S. 216-217.

(d) Analogies in the Judicial Review Act of 1950, and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure manifest congressional concern that interested private parties be given a right to intervene and participate in agency review proceedings. Pp. 382 U. S. 216-217.

3. The successful charging party in NLRB proceedings also has the right to intervene in the appellate review. Pp. 382 U. S. 217-222.

(a) A successful charging party, being not only a member of the general public whose interests are protected by the NLRB but also one with vital private interests which are involved and protected by the Act in its blending of both interests, is entitled to recognition as a party in appellate proceedings. Amalgamated Util. Workers v. Consolidated Edison Co., 309 U. S. 261, distinguished. Pp. 382 U. S. 219-221.

(b) When the court rules on the merits of an NLRB order, the Act supports the view that the court, and not the agency, defines the public interest. P. 382 U. S. 221.

(c) This Court, and not the Labor Board, is the body having discretion to decide which cases are suitable vehicles to raise important issues on certiorari. P. 382 U. S. 221.

(d) As in the case of the charged party, the successful charging party should have the same right as an unsuccessful party in appearing before an appellate court. P. 382 U. S. 222.

No. 53, 339 F.2d 801, and No. 18, reversed and remanded. clubjuris

Page 382 U. S. 207