The Loyalty Issue.

By section 9A of the Hatch Act of 1939, a federal employee was disqualified from accepting or holding any position in the Federal Government or the District of Columbia if he belonged to an organization that he knew advocated the overthrow of our constitutional form of government.555 The 79th Congress followed up this provision with a rider to its appropriation acts forbidding the use of any appropriated funds to pay the salary of any person who advocated, or belonged to an organization which advocated the overthrow of the government by force, or of any person who engaged in a strike or who belonged to an organization which asserted the right to strike against the government.556 These provisos ultimately wound up in permanent law requiring all government employees to take oaths disclaiming either disloyalty or strikes as a device for dealing with the government as an employer.557 Along with the loyalty-security programs initiated by President Truman558 and carried forward by President Eisenhower,559 these measures reflected the Cold War era and the fear of subversion and espionage following the disclosures of several such instances here and abroad.560

Footnotes

555
53 Stat. 1147, 5 U.S.C. § 7311. [Back to text]
556
See Report of the Special Committee on The Federal Loyalty-Security Program, The Association of the Bar of the City of New York (New York: 1956), 60. [Back to text]
557
5 U.S.C. § 3333. The loyalty disclaimer oath was declared unconstitutional in Stewart v. Washington, 301 F. Supp. 610 (D.D.C. 1969), and the did not appeal. The strike disclaimer oath was voided in National Ass’n of Letter Carriers v. Blount, 305 F. Supp. 546 (D.D.C. 1969); after noting probable jurisdiction, 397 U.S. 1062 (1970), the Court dismissed the appeal on the government’s motion. 400 U.S. 801 (1970). The actual prohibition on strikes, however, has been sustained. United Fed’n of Postal Clerks v. Blount, 325 F. Supp. 879 (D.D.C. 1971), aff ’d per curiam, 404 U.S. 802 (1971). [Back to text]
558
E.O. 9835, 12 Fed. Reg. 1935 (1947). [Back to text]
559
E.O. 10450, 18 Fed. Reg. 2489 (1953). [Back to text]
560
See generally, Report of the Special Committee on The Federal Loyalty-Security Program, The Association of the Bar of the City of New York (New York: 1956). [Back to text]