NAACP V. FPC, 425 U. S. 662 (1976)

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U.S. Supreme Court

NAACP v. FPC, 425 U.S. 662 (1976)

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

v. Federal Power Commission

No. 74-1608

Argued February 25, 1976

Decided May 19, 1976*

425 U.S. 662


The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and various other organizations petitioned the Federal Power Commission (FPC) to issue a rule "requiring equal employment opportunity and nondiscrimination in the employment practices of its regulatees." The FPC refused, holding that it had no jurisdiction to issue such a rule. On petition for review, the Court of Appeals, while agreeing that the FPC lacked power to prescribe personnel practices in detail and act upon personnel complaints, held that the FPC does have

"power to take into account, in the performance of its regulatory functions, including licensing and rate review, evidence that the regulatee is a demonstrated discriminatory in its employment relations."


1. The FPC is authorized to consider the consequences of discriminatory employment practices on the part of its regulatees only insofar as such consequences are directly related to the FPC's establishment of just and reasonable rates in the public interest. To the extent that illegal, duplicative, or unnecessary labor costs are demonstrably the product of a regulatee's discriminatory employment practices and can be or have been demonstrably quantified by judicial decree or the final action of an administrative agency, the FPC should disallow them. Pp. 425 U. S. 666-669.

2. The FPC's asserted duty to advance the public interest, however, does not afford any basis for its prohibiting regulatees from engaging in discriminatory employment practices, as references to the "public interest" in the Federal Power Act and Natural Gas Act require the FPC to promote the orderly production of plentiful supplies of electric energy and natural gas at just

Page 425 U. S. 663

and reasonable rates, and do not constitute a directive to the FPC to seek to eradicate discrimination. Pp. 425 U. S. 669-671.

172 U.S.App.D.C. 32, 520 F.2d 432, affirmed.

STEWART, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BRENNAN, WHITE, BLACKMUN, POWELL, REHNQUIST, and STEVENS, JJ., joined. POWELL, J., filed a concurring opinion, post, p. 425 U. S. 671. BURGER, C.J.,filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, post, p. 425 U. S. 672. MARSHALL, J., took no part in the consideration or decision of the cases.

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