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Broadrick v. Oklahoma

United States Supreme Court
413 U.S. 601 (1973)


Facts

Broadrick and two other employees of the state's corporation commission (the employees) (plaintiffs) campaigned and solicited donations for a commissioner's reelection. The employees' conduct violated a state law prohibiting these and other political activities by state employees. The law was neutrally worded to serve Oklahoma's valid interest in protecting state workers from undue political pressure or extortion. Faced with disciplinary action, the employees sued in the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, seeking to prevent Oklahoma and state officials (defendants) from enforcing the law. The employees argued that paragraphs 6 and 7 of the law were unconstitutionally vague and overbroad. Paragraph 6 barred employees from any involvement in soliciting or receiving political donations. Paragraph 7 barred employees from taking part in the management of a political organization and from running for any paid public office. The district court ruled the law constitutional, and the employees appealed. The United States Supreme Court noted its probable jurisdiction and took the Oklahoma case so it could be decided simultaneously with a challenge to the constitutionality of the federal Hatch Act, which restricted the political activity of federal government employees. After upholding the Hatch Act, the court turned to the Oklahoma case.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (White, J.)

Dissent (Brennan, J.)

Dissent (Douglas, J.)

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