WIDENER, Circuit Judge:
The United States Chamber of Commerce appeals to this court after being denied leave to permissively intervene in litigation before a three-judge district court in Francis v. Davidson, 340 F.Supp. 351 (D.Md.1972), summarily affirmed without opinion, 409 U.S. 904, 93 S.Ct. 223, 34 L.Ed.2d 168 (1972). The Chamber argues that it should have been allowed to intervene as of right under F.R.C.P. 24(a), or, alternatively, that the district court abused its discretion in denying it permissive intervention under F.R.C.P. 24(b). We find no merit in the contentions set forth by the Chamber and dismiss the appeal.
The original action was brought by the plaintiffs against state officials to have the state officials enjoined from enforcing a state regulation that prevented plaintiffs from receiving AFDC-E benefits.
The Chamber sought to participate in the above litigation as an intervenor or, alternatively, as amicus curiae. The Chamber sought to advance the argument that the Maryland procedure was valid because, by reason of the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution and the national labor policy, a state was obligated to deny AFDC-E benefits to strikers in order not to violate an employer's right to bargain collectively, free from state interference. The district court allowed the Chamber to file an amicus brief and to take part in oral argument, but it denied the Chamber's petition for permissive intervention under F.R.C.P. 24(b).
We are of opinion that this court has jurisdiction to hear this appeal. 28 U.S.C. § 1253 allows a direct appeal to the United States Supreme Court only in cases where a properly convened three-judge district court has either granted or denied an injunction. Since the instant appeal is from a denial of a petition for intervention and not from the denial of an injunction, we believe this is the proper forum in which to contest the decision. See Mr. Justice Douglas' dissent in Oregon State Elks Ass'n. v. Falkenstein, 409 U.S. 1032, 93 S.Ct. 530, 34 L.Ed.2d 484 (1972); Cf. Mitchell v. Donovan, 398 U.S. 427, 90 S.Ct. 1763, 26 L.Ed.2d 378 (1970).
The Chamber's first contention is that the district court should have allowed it to intervene as a matter of right under F.R.C.P. 24(a).
The Chamber's next argument is that since it met all the requirements of Rule 24(a), it was an abuse of discretion by the district court not to allow it to permissively intervene under Rule 24(b).
While we acknowledge the rule that a denial of permissive intervention may be reversed only for an abuse of
The Chamber admits that if the decision of the district court is sustained, it will not be precluded from later pressing its interests in another suit. It contends that even though it is not bound by the decision it will be disadvantaged in any further suit which it might bring because the district court's ruling would influence the court in which the new suit would be brought. The Chamber also says that a new action will be difficult to initiate because the mootness doctrine enunciated by the Third Circuit in Super Tire Engineering Co. v. McCorkle, 469 F.2d 911 (3rd Cir. 1972), would require an in-progress strike of sufficient duration to permit the completion of a trial and an appeal.
The answer to the above contentions is that the district court's ruling on the Chamber's amicus argument was, at most, mere dicta and not binding on anyone. The district court did not rule on the merits of the Chamber's contention; its only holding was that the Chamber would not be permitted to intervene. In view of the fact that the district court's discussion of the Chamber's position was dicta,
The Chamber's final argument is that, even if it did not meet the requirements of Rule 24(a), the district court abused its discretion by rejecting the Chamber's position and then denying it party status. It apparently argues that the district court ruled on the merits of its position. As we said above, the district court held only that the Chamber's position did not warrant permissive intervention. Cf. Credits Commutation Co., supra. Anything said there with regard to the Chamber's substantive position was dicta. The Chamber has failed to demonstrate how its interest has been prejudiced or how the district court abused its discretion.
We are of opinion the statement by the Supreme Court in Sutphen Estates v. United States, 342 U.S. 19, 72 S.Ct. 14, 96 L.Ed. 19 (1941), should apply here:
On the whole case, we are of opinion that the decision of the district court was not an abuse of its discretion under Rule 24(b). Accordingly, we dismiss the appeal.
"(a) Intervention of Right. Upon timely application anyone shall be permitted to intervene in an action: (1) when a statute of the United States confers an unconditional right to intervene; or (2) when the applicant claims an interest relating to the property or transaction which is the subject of the action and he is so situated that the disposition of the action may, as a practical matter, impair or impede his ability to protect that interest, unless the applicant's interest is adequately represented by existing parties."
"(b) Permissive Intervention. Upon timely application anyone may be permitted to intervene in an action: (1) when a statute of the United States confers a conditional right to intervene; or (2) when an applicant's claim or defense and the main action have a question of law or fact in common. When a party to an action relies for ground of claim or defense upon any statute or executive order, administered by a federal or state governmental officer or agency or upon any regulation, order, requirement, or agreement issued or made pursuant to the statute or executive order, the officer or agency upon timely application may be permitted to intervene in the action. In exercising its discretion the court shall consider whether the intervention will unduly delay or prejudice the adjudication of the rights of the original parties."
See Wolpe v. Poretsky, 79 U.S.App. D.C., 144 F.2d 505, esp. 508 (1944).