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International Longshoremen’s Local 37 v. Boyd

United States Supreme Court
347 U.S. 222 (1954)


A large group of workers belonging to Local 37 of the International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union (Local 37) (plaintiff) traveled from their homes in the continental United States to Alaska for seasonal work. Some of these workers were aliens who had been previously accepted as United States residents. Prior to the 1953 season, these resident alien workers became concerned that Boyd (defendant), the District Director of Immigration and Naturalization at Seattle, would construe section 212(d)(7) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (the Act) in such a way that they would be treated upon their return from Alaska to their homes in the continental United States as if they were non-resident aliens entering the United States for the first time. Because non-resident aliens can be excluded from the United States for many reasons that would not justify deporting resident aliens, Local 37 filed this suit prior to the 1953 season, seeking declaratory relief to enjoin Boyd from interpreting and applying section 212(d)(7) of the Act in this manner. Local 37 also asked the court to declare whether the Act, if applied according to Boyd’s construction, would be unconstitutional. The district court entertained the suit and dismissed it on the merits. Boyd appealed on the grounds that the district court should not have reached the constitutional issue, and should have dismissed the suit because there was no case or controversy.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Frankfurter, J.)

Dissent (Black, J.)

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