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U.S. Supreme Court

Cafeteria Workers v. McElroy, 367 U.S. 886 (1961)

Cafeteria Workers v. McElroy

No. 97

Argued January 12, 1961

Decided June 19, 1961

367 U.S. 886


The individual petitioner was a cook at a cafeteria operated by a private concessionaire on the premises of the Naval Gun Factory in Washington, D. C., which was engaged in the development of secret weapons and access to which was limited to persons having badges issued by the Factory's Security Officer. The contract between the Gun Factory and the concessionaire forbade the employment on the premises of any person who failed to meet the security requirements of the Gun Factory, as determined by the Security Officer. On the ground that the cook had failed to meet the security requirements of the Gun Factory, the Security Officer required her to turn in her badge, and thereafter she was unable to work at the Gun Factory. After a request for a hearing before officials of the Gun Factory had been denied, the cook sued in a Federal District Court for restoration of her badge, so that she might be permitted to enter the Gun Factory and resume her former employment.

Held: The District Court properly denied relief. Pp. 367 U. S. 887-899.

(a) Under the explicit authority of Article 0734 of the Navy Regulations, and in the light of the historically unquestioned power of a commanding officer summarily to exclude civilians from the area of his command, there can be no doubt that the Superintendent of the Gun Factory had authority to exclude the cook from the Gun Factory upon the Security Officer's determination that she failed to meet the security requirements. Pp. 367 U. S. 889-894.

(b) The summary exclusion of the cook from the premises of the Gun Factory, without a hearing and without advice as to the specific grounds for her exclusion, did not violate the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment. Pp. 367 U. S. 894-899.

109 U.S.App.D.C. 39, 284 F.2d 173, affirmed

Page 367 U. S. 887

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