Babbitt v. United Farm Workers National Union
In Babbitt v. United Farm Workers National Union, 442 U.S. 289, 99 S.Ct. 2301, 2309, 60 L.Ed.2d 895 (1979), the Supreme Court allowed a union to challenge the constitutionality of a state statute regulating election procedures, consumer publicity, and criminal sanctions, even though no elections or prosecutions had yet occurred.
The Court said that
. . . when fear of criminal prosecution under an allegedly unconstitutional statute is not imaginary or wholly speculative a plaintiff need not "first expose himself to actual arrest or prosecution to be entitled to challenge (the) statute." Steffel v. Thompson, 415 U.S. 452 at 459, 94 S.Ct. 1209 at 1216, 39 L.Ed.2d 505. . . . Moreover, the State has not disavowed any intention of invoking the criminal penalty provision against unions that commit unfair labor practices. Appellees are thus not without some reason in fearing prosecution . . .(99 S.Ct. at 2310-11.)
In Babbitt v. United Farm Workers National Union, 442 U.S. 289, 99 S.Ct. 2301, 60 L.Ed.2d 895 (1979), the Court found first and fourteenth amendment challenges to the Arizona Agricultural Employement Relations Act, Ariz.Rev.Stat.Ann. Secs. 23-1381 to 23-1395 (Supp.1978), ripe because of their chilling effect upon speech, but held that challenges to a provision permitting employers to refuse labor organizations access to employees was not ripe because it was impossible to know how access would be denied.
"We can only hypothesize that such an event will come to pass, and it is only on this basis that the constitutional claim could be adjudicated at this time." Id. at 304, 99 S.Ct. at 2312.
Adjudication was inappropriate until the labor organizations could "assert an interest in seeking access to particular facilities as well as a palpable basis for believe that access will be refused." Id.
In Babbitt v. United Farm Workers Nat'l Union, 442 U.S. 289, 298-99 (1979), the Court found a live controversy by virtue of appellees' claim that they were subject to potential criminal prosecutions under an allegedly unconstitutional statute.
The Court held that, where this fear was not imaginary or wholly speculative and where the state had not disavowed its intention of initiating such prosecutions, there was a constitutionally sufficient case or controversy. Id. at 302.
In Babbitt v. United Farm Workers Nat'l Union, 442 U.S. 289, 298, 99 S.Ct. 2301, 2308, 60 L.Ed.2d 895 (1979), the Supreme Court allowed pre-enforcement constitutional review of certain provisions of a broad farm-labor-regulatory statute, while holding an attack on other provisions nonjusticiable.
Babbitt held that challenges to the provisions regulating election procedures, consumer publicity, and criminal sanctions presented a case or controversy, even without any enforcement action, but that the challenges to workplace access and mandatory arbitration provisions did not.
The strength of the plaintiffs' claim on the workplace-access provision "depended inextricably upon the attributes of the situs involved," something not known in that particular action. 442 U.S. at 304, 99 S.Ct. at 2312.
Similarly, review of the compulsory-arbitration provision would have been imprudent: "assuming an arguably unlawful strike was to occur, employers may elect to pursue a range of responses other than seeking an injunction and agreeing to arbitrate." Id. at 305, 99 S.Ct. at 2312.