Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status
From our private database of 18,800+ case briefs...

Heckler v. Campbell

United States Supreme Court
461 U.S. 458 (1983)



Carmen Campbell applied for disability benefits because a bad back and hypertension prevented her from doing her job as a hotel maid. Campbell was 52 years old, had limited education, and had difficulty speaking and writing English. Campbell could read and understand English well. Campbell’s application for disability benefits was denied, and she requested a hearing, as permitted by regulations, before an administrative law judge (ALJ) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The ALJ determined that her back injury was not severe enough to render her disabled, and then considered whether she had the ability to perform less strenuous jobs. The ALJ concluded that Campbell retained the ability to do light physical work. Relying on medical-vocational guidelines issued by HHS, the ALJ determined that a significant number of jobs existed that a person of Campbell’s age and ability could perform. Accordingly the ALJ concluded that Campbell was not disabled. Campbell appealed and the decision was affirmed by the Social Security Appeals Council and the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed. It held that the medical-vocational guidelines did not provide the specific evidence of alternative occupations that would be available to Campbell. It also held that because of the reliance on the guidelines, Campbell was deprived of the opportunity to provide evidence that she cannot perform the types of jobs noticed by the guidelines. HHS appealed. The Supreme Court granted certiorari to resolve a conflict among the circuits.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Powell, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 498,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 498,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 18,800 briefs, keyed to 985 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Questions & Answers

Have a question about this case?

Sign up for a free 7-day trial and ask it

Sign up for a FREE 7-day trial