Mountain States Legal Foundation Logo

Active Cases

All Cases

Case Locations (click on the blue States to view the case list)

case-map.jpg 
Alaska California Idaho Nevada Montana Wyoming Utah Arizona Colorado New Mexico Texas Michigan New York Washington, D.C. Pennsylvania Arkansas North Dakota Ohio Oregon South Dakota Minnesota Wisconsin North Carolina Louisiana

Brigida v. U.S. Department of Transportation

Why We Fight:

Every American who applies for a federal job has the constitutional right to be judged by his qualifications not his race or ethnicity; as Justice Scalia wrote, “In the eyes of government we are just one race here.  It is American.”

Summary:

Since 1991, the Federal Aviation Administration hired air traffic controllers who graduated from accredited degree programs and passed its computer-based examination with flying colors.  In 2014, the FAA abandoned that program to increase the racial diversity of air traffic controllers and purged its system of all previously-qualified, ready-to-hire applicants.

Legal Question:

Whether the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) violated the Constitution’s equal protection guarantee by its adoptions of new hiring practices to achieve racial diversity?

Plaintiff:

Andrew J. Brigida, represented by MSLF with Michael Pearson, Esq., a former air traffic controller (ATC) and member of Curry, Pearson & Wooten, PLC in Phoenix, serving as local counsel

Defendants:

U.S. Department of Transportation; Anthony R. Foxx, Secretary, U.S. Department of Transportation; FAA; Michael Huerta, Administrator, FAA; Stephanie Jones, Acting Director, Departmental Office of Civil Rights, and U.S. Department of Transportation

Court:

U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
Oral arguments on MSLF's motion for reconsideration

Beginning in 1995, to ensure the availability of well qualified applicants to replace the steady and increasing stream of retiring ATCs—for whom the mandatory retirement age is 56—the FAA collaborated with universities and colleges to create accredited degree programs in diverse Collegiate Training Initiative (CTI) schools.  Then, the FAA gave a hiring preference to veterans, those with CTI program degrees, references from CTI administrators, and “well qualified” rankings on the challenging Air Traffic Selection and Training exam (AT-SAT)—a validated, proctored, eight-hour, computer-based test. 

In May of 2013, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta announced plans to “transform” the FAA into “a more diverse and inclusive workplace….”  The announcement was accompanied by a suspect analysis that purported to show women and minorities as “underrepresented” in those the FAA hired.  In December of 2013, the FAA began its new hiring process and told 2,000 to 3,000 trained and qualified graduates of CTI programs and veterans—who were on the FAA’s referral list and ready for immediate hire—that:  their AT-SAT scores were not valid; they would be required to pass a non-validated and non-monitored “Biographical Questionnaire,” before being able to retake the AT-SAT; and they must then reapply.  The FAA “purged” its files of the 2,000 to 3,000 trained and qualified CTI graduates and veterans and opened the position to all English-speaking citizens with high school diplomas.

On December 30, 2015, MSLF filed its class action lawsuit on behalf of 2,000 to 3,500 applicants to become ATCs who met the FAA’s time-tested and rigorous tests for employment as air traffic controllers (ATC) but were rejected after the FAA announced new minority hiring plans.  MSLF charges that the FAA’s actions violate the equal protection component of the Due Process Clause of the Constitution’s Fifth Amendment and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.   On April 18, 2016, MSLF filed its First Amended Complaint.

On July 15, 2016, Congress passed the Federal Aviation Administration Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016 which, inter alia, addressed the hiring of ATCS positions by the FAA.  The Act provides that those applicants who were disqualified previously from hiring because of the Biographical Questionnaire could reapply under a new hiring process; however, the Act contains no guarantees that Mr. Brigida or any of the class members would actually be hired by the FAA.  As a result of the Act, MSLF filed a Second Amended Complaint, adding additional allegations explaining why Mr. Brigida and the class are still injured as a result of the FAA’s actions.  Federal defendants filed a motion to dismiss and for a change of venue on September 16, 2016, which MSLF opposed in a filing made on September 30, 2016.  Federal defendants filed a reply on October 11, 2016.  On November 1, 2016, the district court in Arizona granted federal defendants’ motion and transferred the case.

On December 2, 2016, MSLF field a motion for reconsideration in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, requesting the federal district court to restore Mr. Brigida’s request for equitable relief or, in the alternative, restore Mr. Brigida’s constitutional claim.  On January 6, 2017, federal defendants filed an opposition to the motion to which MSLF replied on January 27, 2017.

 

 
  • Federal District Court Again Urged to Reverse Fatally Flawed FAA Ruling

    Jan 27, 2017
    A nonprofit, public-interest legal foundation with decades of experience enforcing the Constitution’s equal protection guarantee today again urged a Washington, D.C. federal district court to reconsider an order of an Arizona federal district court on November 7, 2016, that dismissed portions of its lawsuit against the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other agencies and officials for violating its client’s rights.
  • Federal District Court Must Reverse Fatally Flawed FAA Ruling

    Dec 2, 2016
    A nonprofit, public-interest legal foundation with decades of experience enforcing the Constitution’s equal protection guarantee today urged an Arizona federal district court to reconsider its November 7, 2016, order dismissing portions of a lawsuit against the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other agencies and officials for violating its client’s rights.
  • Federal District Court Ruling in FAA Lawsuit Fatally Flawed

    Nov 7, 2016
    A nonprofit, public-interest legal foundation with decades of experience enforcing the Constitution’s equal protection guarantee expressed its deep disappointment with the ruling of a federal district court dismissing portions of its lawsuit against the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other agencies and officials for violating its client’s rights.
  • Obama Officials Are Not Exempt from Constitution for Racial Discrimination

    Sep 30, 2016
    A nonprofit, public-interest legal foundation with decades of experience enforcing the Constitution’s equal protection guarantee responded to a recent filing by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other agencies and officials in their attempt to escape responsibility for violating its client’s rights.
  • Congress Fails to Address Constitutional Injuries Suffered by Class Members

    Aug 19, 2016
    A nonprofit, public-interest legal foundation with decades of experience enforcing the Constitution’s equal protection guarantee today filed an amended complaint in its lawsuit against the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other agencies and officials, for violating its clients’ rights, following congressional action.
  • Class Action Lawsuit Naming FAA for Constitutional Breach Resumes

    Aug 4, 2016
    A nonprofit, public-interest legal foundation with decades of experience enforcing the Constitution’s equal protection guarantee today announced a court order requiring resumption of its lawsuit against the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other agencies and officials, for violating its clients’ rights, to await congressional action.
  • Lawsuit Naming FAA for Constitutional Breach Seeks to Resume

    Jul 29, 2016
    A nonprofit, public-interest legal foundation with decades of experience enforcing the Constitution’s equal protection guarantee today announced its effort to resume its lawsuit against the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other agencies and officials, for violating its clients’ rights, to await congressional action.
  • Class Action Lawsuit Naming FAA for Constitutional Breach Delayed

    Jun 7, 2016
    A nonprofit, public-interest legal foundation with decades of experience enforcing the Constitution’s equal protection guarantee today announced a delay in its lawsuit against the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other agencies and officials, for violating its clients’ rights, to await congressional action.
  • Class Action Lawsuit Against FAA for Constitutional Breach Expands

    Apr 18, 2016
    A nonprofit, public-interest legal foundation with decades of experience enforcing the Constitution’s equal protection guarantee today expanded its lawsuit against the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other agencies and officials for violating its clients’ rights.
  • FAA Violated Constitutional Rights, Federal Class Action Charges

    Dec 30, 2015
    A nonprofit, public-interest legal foundation with decades of experience enforcing the Constitution’s equal protection guarantee today sued the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other agencies and officials for violating its clients’ rights.


Help protect constitutional liberties and private property rights, and promote limited and ethical government and the free enterprise system:

Donate Here