BROADRICK V. OKLAHOMA, 413 U. S. 601 (1973)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Broadrick v. Oklahoma, 413 U.S. 601 (1973)

Broadrick v. Oklahoma

No. 71-1639

Argued March 26, 1973

Decided June 25, 1973

413 U.S. 601


Appellants, state employees charged by the Oklahoma State Personnel Board with actively engaging in partisan political activities (including the solicitation of money) among their coworkers for the benefit of their superior, in alleged violation of § 818 of the state merit system Act, brought this suit challenging the Act's validity on the grounds that two of its paragraphs are invalid because of overbreadth and vagueness. One paragraph provides that no classified service employee

"shall directly or indirectly, solicit, receive, or in any manner be concerned in soliciting or receiving any assessment . . . or contribution for any political organization, candidacy or other political purpose."

The other provides that no such employee shall belong to "any national, state or local committee of a political party" or be an officer or member of a committee or a partisan political club, or a candidate for any paid public office, or take part in the management or affairs of any political party or campaign "except to exercise his right as a citizen privately to express his opinion and . . . vote." The District Court upheld the provisions.

Held: Section 818 of the Oklahoma statute is not unconstitutional on its face. CSC v. Letter Carriers, ante, p. 413 U. S. 548. Pp. 413 U. S. 607-618.

(a) The statute, which gives adequate warning of what activities it proscribes and sets forth explicit standards for those who must apply it, is not impermissibly vague. Pp. 413 U. S. 607-608.

(b) Although appellants contend that the statute reaches activities that are constitutionally protected as well as those that are not, it is clearly constitutional as applied to the conduct with which they are charged, and, because it is not substantially overbroad, they cannot challenge the statute on the ground that it might be applied unconstitutionally to others, in situations not before the Court. Appellants' conduct falls squarely within the proscriptions of § 818, which deals with activities that the State has ample power to regulate, United Public Workers v. Mitchell, 330 U. S. 75;

Page 413 U. S. 602

CSC v. Letter Carriers, supra, and the operation of the statute has been administrative!y confined to clearly partisan political activity. Pp. 413 U. S. 609-618.

338 F.Supp. 711, affirmed.

WHITE, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BURGER, C.J.,and BLACKMUN, POWELL, and REHNQUIST, JJ., joined. DOUGLAS, J., filed a dissenting opinion, post, p. 413 U. S. 618. BRENNAN, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which STEWART and MARSHALL, JJ., joined, post, p. 413 U. S. 621.

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