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Dunlop v. Bachowski

United States Supreme Court
421 U.S. 560 (1975)


After losing a union-officer election, Bachowski (plaintiff) petitioned the secretary of the Department of Labor (defendant) to sue to set the election results aside for alleged violations of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA). The secretary responded that his investigation did not warrant a lawsuit invalidating the election. Bachowski petitioned the federal district court to declare the secretary’s actions arbitrary and capricious and to order the secretary to file suit. The court found it lacked authority to review the secretary’s decision, but the Third Circuit reversed, finding that the secretary’s decision constituted judicially reviewable final agency action under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). Because the APA’s scope of review is that needed to ensure that the refusal was not arbitrary, capricious, or an abuse of discretion, it entitled Bachowski to a detailed statement of the factors on which the secretary’s decision relied. The Third Circuit also construed the APA to authorize a trial-type inquiry into the supporting facts and whether election violations changed the outcome. The United States Supreme Court granted review.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Brennan, J.)

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