1956 June 11

Federal Loyalty Program Ruled Not Applicable to Non-Sensitive Jobs


Kendrick Cole was dismissed from his job with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the terms of the federal Loyalty Program (created by President Harry Truman on March 21, 1947). He appealed, and in Cole v. Young decided on this day, the Supreme Court ruled that his dismissal was improper because his job as a food and drug inspector with the Department of Health, Education and Welfare did not involve sensitive national security matters.

As was to be expected, the decision provoked an angry outburst by arch-conservative U.S. Senators Joe McCarthy and James Eastland who, on June 26, 1956, accused the Court of issuing “one pro-Communist decision after another.”

The Court: “The term ‘national security’ is not defined in that [1950] Act, but it is clear from the statute as a whole that it was intended to comprehend only those activities of the Government that are directly concerned with the protection of the Nation from internal subversion or foreign aggression, and not those which contribute to the strength of the Nation only through their impact on the general welfare.”

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