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American Textile Mfrs. Institute, Inc. v. Donovan, 452 US 490 - Supreme Court 1981 ReadHow citedSearch
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452 U.S. 490 (1981)
AMERICAN TEXTILE MANUFACTURERS INSTITUTE, INC., ET AL.
v.
DONOVAN, SECRETARY OF LABOR, ET AL.

No. 79-1429.
Supreme Court of United States.

Argued January 21, 1981.
Decided June 17, 1981.[*]
CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CIRCUIT. 492*492 Robert H. Bork argued the cause for petitioners in both cases. With him on the briefs for petitioners American Textile Manufacturers Institute, Inc., et al. were Neil J. King, A. Stephen Hut, Jr., Robert T. Thompson, Samuel K. Abrams, H. J. Elam III, Neil W. Koonce, Dan M. Byrd, Jr., Thomas A. Evins, Roger L. Tuttle, Lovic A. Brooks, Jr., Richard H. 493*493 Monk, Jr., and C. Powers Dorsett. Charles M. Crump filed briefs for petitioner National Cotton Council of America.

Deputy Solicitor General Geller argued the cause for the federal respondent in both cases. With him on the brief were Solicitor General McCree, Barry Sullivan, Benjamin W. Mintz, Allen H. Feldman, Dennis K. Kade, Diane E. Burkley, and John A. Bryson. George H. Cohen argued the cause for the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations et al., respondents in both cases under this Court's Rule 19.6. With him on the brief were Robert M. Weinberg, Jeremiah A. Collins, Laurence Gold, J. Albert Woll, Elliot Bredhoff, and Arthur M. Goldberg.[†]

J. Davitt McAteer and John A. Fillion filed a brief for the Brown Lung Association et al. as amici curiae urging affirmance.

Briefs of amici curiae were filed by Allen A. Lauterbach and C. David Mayfield for the American Farm Bureau Federation; by Jerome Powell, W. Scott Railton, Barton C. Green, and David Ferber for the American Iron and Steel Institute; by William J. Kilberg, Stephen E. Tallent, and H. Frederick Tepker for ASARCO Inc.; by Edwin H. Seeger and William F. Boyd for Bunker Hill Co.; and by J. Gordon Arbuckle and David B. Robinson for the Chocolate Manufacturers Association.

JUSTICE BRENNAN delivered the opinion of the Court.

Congress enacted the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (Act) "to assure so far as possible every working man and woman in the Nation safe and healthful working conditions. . . ." § 2 (b), 84 Stat. 1590, 29 U. S. C. § 651 (b). The Act authorizes the Secretary of Labor to establish, after notice and opportunity to comment, mandatory nationwide standards governing health and safety in the workplace. 29 U. S. C. §§ 655 (a), (b). In 1978, the Secretary, acting through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration 494*494 (OSHA),[1] promulgated a standard limiting occupational exposure to cotton dust, an airborne particle byproduct of the preparation and manufacture of cotton products, exposure to which induces a "constellation of respiratory effects" known as "byssinosis." 43 Fed. Reg. 27352, col. 3 (1978). This disease was one of the expressly recognized health hazards that led to passage of the Act. S. Rep. No. 91-1282, p. 3 (1970), Legislative History of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, p. 143 (Comm. Print 1971) (Leg. Hist.).

Petitioners in these consolidated cases, representing the interests of the cotton industry,[2] challenged the validity of the "Cotton Dust Standard" in the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit pursuant to § 6 (f) of the Act, 29 U. S. C. § 655 (f). They contend in this Court, as they did below, that the Act requires OSHA to demonstrate that its Standard reflects a reasonable relationship between the costs and benefits associated with the Standard. Respondents, the Secretary of Labor and two labor organizations,[3] counter that Congress balanced the costs and benefits in the Act itself, and that the Act should therefore be construed not to require 495*495 OSHA to do so. They interpret the Act as mandating that OSHA...
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