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RICHARDSON, SECRETARY OF HEALTH, EDUCATION, AND WELFARE v. MORRIS ET AL.
APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT
Decided January 15, 1973
District Court, which granted appellees an injunction against enforcement of 203 (a) of the Social Security Act, erred in assuming jurisdiction under Tucker Act, which does not authorize suits for equitable relief.
346 F. Supp. 494, vacated and remanded.
Appellees are illegitimate children on whose behalf a class action was commenced seeking to enjoin enforcement of 203 (a) of the Social Security Act, 49 Stat. 623, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 403 (a), on the ground that the provision was unconstitutional under this Court's decisions in Weber v. Aetna Casualty & Surety Co., 406 U.S. 164 (1972), and Levy v. Louisiana, 391 U.S. 68 (1968). The District Court granted appellees' request for declaratory and injunctive relief.
On the merits, this appeal involves the same issues that were raised in Davis v. Richardson, 342 F. Supp. 588 (Conn.), aff'd, post, p. 1069, and Griffin v. Richardson, 346 F. Supp. 1226 (Md.), aff'd, post, p. 1069. Unlike those cases, however, the District Court here purported to predicate its jurisdiction on the Tucker Act, 28 U.S.C. 1346 (a) (2). Assuming, arguendo, that exhaustion of the administrative remedies provided by the Social Security Act was not a prerequisite to appellees' attack on the facial constitutionality of 203 (a), see Public Utilities Comm'n of California v. United States, 355 U.S. 534 (1958), we nonetheless conclude that it was error for [409 U.S. 464, 465] the District Court to assume jurisdiction under the Tucker Act.
The Tucker Act plainly gives district courts jurisdiction over claims against the United States for money damages of less than $10,000 that are "founded . . . upon the Constitution." * But the Act has long been contrued as authorizing only actions for money judgments and not suits for equitable relief against the United States. See United States v. Jones, 131 U.S. 1 (1889). The reason for the distinction flows from the fact that the Court of Claims has no power to grant equitable relief, see Glidden Co. v. Zdanok, 370 U.S. 530, 557 (1962) (Harlan, J., announcing the judgment of the Court), and the jurisdiction of the district courts under the Act was expressly made "concurrent with the Court [409 U.S. 464, 466] of Claims." See United States v. Sherwood, 312 U.S. 584, 589 -591 (1941); Bates Mfg. Co. v. United States, 303 U.S. 567, 570 (1938). What was said in Sherwood, supra, at 591, applies here:
[ Footnote * ] The Act, in pertinent part, reads as follows: