Oral argument: Feb. 27, 2012
Appealed from: United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit (Apr. 8, 2011)
ORIGINAL JURISDICTION, ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW, CIVIL SERVICE REFORM ACT
Petitioners Michael Elgin and three other government employees were terminated from their jobs for failing to register with the Selective Service, as is required for government employees. Following the statutory review procedures outlined by the Civil Service Reform Act (“CSRA”), the Petitioners filed claims with the Merit Systems Protection Board (“MSPB”). They claimed that the registration requirement was unconstitutional as a Bill of Attainder and as an equal protection violation. The MSPB dismissed the constitutional claims for lack of jurisdiction. Rather than appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, as is directed in the CSRA, the Petitioners filed their claims in a U.S. district court, which assumed jurisdiction before dismissing the claims on other grounds. On appeal, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit found that the district court did not possess jurisdiction, because the CSRA directs federal employee claims through the MSPB. The Petitioners argue that district courts possess original jurisdiction over their claims, because the CSRA does not explicitly preclude such jurisdiction. The Department of the Treasury, however, contends that Congress intended the CSRA scheme to be the sole channel for federal employee claims. The Supreme Court’s decision will affect the options available to federal employees pursuing employment-related claims.