WEINBERGER V. ROSSI, 456 U. S. 25 (1982)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Weinberger v. Rossi, 456 U.S. 25 (1982)

Weinberger v. Rossi

No. 80-1924

Argued February 22, 1982

Decided March 31, 1982

456 U.S. 25


In 1968, the President entered into an agreement with the Republic of the Philippines providing for the preferential employment of Filipino citizens at United States military bases in the Philippines. In 1971, Congress enacted § 106 of Pub.L. 92-129, which prohibits employment discrimination against United States citizens on military bases overseas unless permitted by "treaty." Thereafter, respondent United States citizens residing in the Philippines were notified that their jobs at a naval base there were being converted into local national positions in accordance with the 1968 agreement. After unsuccessfully pursuing an administrative remedy, respondents then filed suit in Federal District Court, alleging that the preferential employment provisions of the agreement violated § 106. The District Court granted summary judgment for petitioners, but the Court of Appeals reversed.

Held: The word "treaty" as used in § 106 includes executive agreements, such as the one involved here, and is not limited to those international agreements concluded by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate pursuant to Art. II, § 2, cl. 2, of the Constitution. Pp. 456 U. S. 28-36.

(a) In view of the fact that Congress has not been consistent in various other Acts in distinguishing between Art. II treaties and other forms of international agreements, it is not dispositive that Congress in 106 used the term "treaty" without specifically including international agreements that are not Art. II treaties. But in the case of a statute, such as § 106, that touches upon the United States' foreign policy, there is a particularly justifiable reason to construe Congress' use of "treaty" to include international agreements as well as Art. II treaties. Cf. B. Altman & Co. v. United States, 224 U. S. 583. To construe § 106 otherwise would mean that Congress intended to repudiate 13 existing executive agreements, including the one in this case, providing for preferential hiring of local nationals. Pp. 456 U. S. 28-32.

(b) The legislative history of § 106 provides no support for attributing such an intent to Congress, but rather discloses that Congress was primarily concerned with the financial hardship to American servicemen

Page 456 U. S. 26

that resulted from employment discrimination against American citizens at overseas bases. Pp. 456 U. S. 32 36.

206 U.S.App.D.C. 148, 642 F.2d 553, reversed and remanded.

REHNQUIST, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous court.

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