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Cole v. Richardson

United States Supreme Court
405 U.S. 676 (1972)


Facts

Richardson (plaintiff) was hired as a researcher for a public hospital of which Cole (defendant) was the superintendent. After being hired, Richardson was asked to take a loyalty oath required of all state employees. The oath required Richardson to swear to support the state and federal constitutions and to oppose the overthrow of the state and federal governments. Richardson believed the oath was unconstitutional and refused to subscribe to it. Richardson was fired and filed suit in federal court. The district court found the support clause of the oath constitutional, but held that the clause pledging opposition to government overthrow was unconstitutionally vague. Cole petitioned the United States Supreme Court for review.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Burger, C.J.)

The holding and reasoning section includes:

  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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Dissent (Marshall, J.)

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