MR. JUSTICE BRENNAN delivered the opinion of the Court.
The District Court for the Central District of California determined in 1973 that hiring practices of the County of Los Angeles respecting the County Fire Department violated 42
In 1969, persons seeking employment with the Los Angeles County Fire Department were required to take a written civil service examination and a physical-agility test. Applicants were ranked according to their performance on the two tests and selected for job interviews on the basis of their scores. Those who passed their oral interviews were then placed on a hiring-eligibility list. Because blacks and Hispanics did poorly on the written examination, this method of screening job applicants proved to have a disparate impact on minority hiring.
The County of Los Angeles has not used the written civil
In 1971, the county replaced the 1969 procedure with a new method of screening job applicants. A new written test was designed expressly to eliminate cultural bias. The test was to be given and graded on a pass-fail basis for the sole purpose of screening out illiterates. Five hundred of the passing applicants were to be selected at random for oral interviews and physical-agility tests. Passing applicants were to be ranked solely on the basis of the results of the physicalagility test and the oral interview. See 566 F. 2d, at 1346 (Wallace J., dissenting).
An examination was conducted, pursuant to this plan, in January 1972. Ninety-seven percent of the applicants passed the written test. There was no disparate adverse impact on minorities and this use of the written examination has not been challenged in this litigation.
After administration of the written test, but before the random selection could be made, an action was filed in state court against the county charging that the random-selection process violated provisions of the county charter and civil service regulations. The county was enjoined from using the random-selection method pending trial on the merits. See ibid.
For a time the hiring process came to a halt. The eligibility list drawn from the 1969 examination had been exhausted. The county was unable to devise a nonrandom method of screening job applicants and the county lacked the resources to interview all of the applicants who had passed the 1972 examination.
In January 1973, respondents, representing present and future black and Mexican-American applicants to the Fire Department, brought a class action against the County of Los Angeles, the Board of Supervisors of the County of Los Angeles, and the Civil Service Commission of the County of Los Angeles (petitioners). Respondents charged that petitioners' 1969 hiring procedures violated 42 U. S. C. § 1981. Respondents also charged that petitioners' plan to interview those applicants who had received the top 544 scores on the 1972 written test violated 42 U. S. C. § 1981.
The District Court found that petitioners had acted without discriminatory intent. Nonetheless, the District Court held that because the 1969 and 1972 written examinations had not been validated as predictive of job performance, petitioners' employment practices had violated 42 U. S. C. § 1981. The court permanently enjoined all future discrimination and mandated good-faith affirmative-action efforts. The court also entered a remedial hiring order whereby at least 20% of all new firefighter recruits were required to be black and another 20% were required to be Mexican-American until the
The Court of Appeals reversed the District Court with respect to the 1969 examination: The Court of Appeals held that respondents did not have standing to seek relief on account of the 1969 civil service examination because the plaintiff class, as certified by the District Court, consisted only of present and future job applicants
The Court of Appeals affirmed, however, the District
The only question remaining in this case, then, concerns petitioners' 1972 plan to interview the top 544 scorers on the 1972 written examination in order to fill temporary emergency manpower needs. We find that this controversy became moot during the pendency of this litigation.
"Simply stated, a case is moot when the issues presented are no longer `live' or the parties lack a legally cognizable interest in the outcome." Powell v. McCormack, 395 U.S. 486, 496 (1969). We recognize that, as a general rule, "voluntary cessation of allegedly illegal conduct does not deprive the tribunal of power to hear and determine the case, i. e., does not make the case moot." United States v. W. T. Grant Co., 345 U.S. 629, 632 (1953). But jurisdiction, properly acquired, may abate if the case becomes moot because
(1) it can be said with assurance that "there is no reasonable expectation . . ." that the alleged violation will recur, see id., at 633; see also SEC v. Medical Committee For Human Rights, 404 U.S. 403 (1972), and
(2) interim relief or events have completely and irrevocably eradicated the effects of the alleged violation. See, e. g., DeFunis v. Odegaard, 416 U.S. 312 (1974); Indiana Employment Security Div. v. Burney, 409 U.S. 540 (1973).
When both conditions are satisfied it may be said that the case is moot because neither party has a legally cognizable interest in the final determination of the underlying questions of fact and law.
The burden of demonstrating mootness "is a heavy one." See United States v. W. T. Grant Co., supra, at 632-633. Nevertheless, that burden is fully met on this record.
The first condition is met because there can be no reasonable expectation that petitioners will use an unvalidated civil
To fill each group of vacancies petitioners interview 500 applicants who passed their written examination, including the highest scoring 300 whites, 100 blacks, and 100 Mexican-Americans. The number interviewed is several times the number of actual vacancies. The interviewers rate each of these applicants on his or her merits without regard to race or national origin. Thereafter applicants are hired solely on the basis of the score given by the interviewer, again without regard to race or national origin. Those hired are not hired from separate lists, no quotas are used, and the same rating standards are applied to all applicants. The interviewers are not authorized to give extra points because of an applicant's race or national origin, but are directed only to be alert for talented minority applicants. This procedure has resulted every year since 1972 in a minority hiring level which consistently, though by varying amounts, exceeded 50%.
There has been no suggestion by any of the parties, nor is there any reason to believe, that petitioners would significantly alter their present hiring practices if the injunction were dissolved. See also Brief for N. A. A. C. P. Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., as Amicus Curiae 7. A fortiori, there is no reason to believe that petitioners would replace their present hiring procedures with procedures that they regarded
The second condition of mootness is met because petitioners' compliance during the five years since 1973 with the District Court's decree and their hiring of over 50% of new recruits from minorities has completely cured any discriminatory effects of the 1972 proposal. Indeed, it is extremely doubtful, from this record, that the 1972 proposal had any discriminatory effects to redress. The plan, it must be remembered, was never carried out. As a consequence, there has been no finding that any minority job applicant was excluded from employment as a result of the proposal. Cf. Franks v. Bowman Transportation Co., 424 U.S. 747 (1976).
All of these circumstances, taken together, persuade us that, whatever might have been the case at the time of trial, the controversy has become moot during the pendency of this litigation. Accordingly, we vacate the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remand to that court for entry of an appropriate order directing the District Court to dismiss the action as moot. See United States v. Munsingwear, Inc., 340 U.S. 36, 39 (1950).
MR. JUSTICE STEWART, with whom MR. JUSTICE REHNQUIST joins, dissenting.
The Court of Appeals dealt with three alleged instances of discrimination by the petitioners in hiring firemen: a minimum-height requirement, the use of a written test in 1969 to establish hiring priorities, and the threatened reliance on the results of a test administered in 1972. The Court of Appeals ruled that the height requirement violated federal law. That ruling has not been challenged here. It concluded that these respondents did not have standing to challenge the 1969 test results. All Members of this Court agree. Thus, only the third claim remains in this case.
At least some of the respondents do have standing to challenge the threatened use of the 1972 test. They had applied for employment with the county in 1971 and took the 1972 test. Clearly, they would be affected by the county's decision to use the results of that test to select applicants for interviews. If the county's proposed use of the test was illegal, those respondents were threatened with injury in fact.
I cannot agree with MR. JUSTICE POWELL, however, that the § 1981 question is properly presented in this case. The respondents' second amended complaint alleged that the county had violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The complaint included copies of "right to sue" letters from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Title VII became applicable to local governmental units in March 1972. The county decided to use the 1972 test to rank applicants at the end of 1972. The District Court held that the county had violated both § 1981 and Title VII. The Court of Appeals expressly affirmed that decision.
MR. JUSTICE POWELL concludes that the Court of Appeals did not make a considered judgment on the Title VII issue. While it is true that the text of the court's opinion dealt almost exclusively with § 1981, the court clearly held that Title VII standards apply to alleged violations of § 1981. Under the court's analysis, if a violation of § 1981 were made out and the conduct occurred while the defendant was covered by Title VII, Title VII must have been violated also. As the dissenting opinion in the Court of Appeals recognized, the decision on Title VII thus made completely unnecessary the court's discussion of whether § 1981 requires proof of discriminatory intent. 566 F. 2d, at 1347.
The petitioners did not question the ruling of the Court of Appeals on the Title VII claim,
It is clear, however, that the only violation remaining in this case, the threatened use of the 1972 test to rank job applicants, cannot justify the extensive remedy ordered by the District Court. "As with any equity case, the nature of the violation determines the scope of the remedy." Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Bd. of Educ., 402 U.S. 1, 16. A simple order enjoining the illegal use of the 1972 test would seem sufficient to remedy the only violation of which the respondents had standing to complain. Therefore, I would vacate the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remand the case to the District Court with directions to narrow the scope of the remedy substantially.
MR. JUSTICE POWELL, with whom THE CHIEF JUSTICE joins, dissenting.
Today the Court orders dismissal of a suit challenging the hiring practices of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
This suit was brought to eliminate the effects of alleged racial discrimination in the Los Angeles County Fire Department. The plaintiffs, respondents here, were persons who applied unsuccessfully for fireman jobs in 1971; the class they represented was certified to include present and future, but not past, black and Mexican-American job applicants to the Fire Department. The county was accused of a variety of employment practices said to discriminate against minorities, including the use of "written tests as a promotion and hiring selection device" even though the tests had "disproportionate detrimental impact" on blacks and Mexican-Americans. App.
4. The named plaintiffs had taken the most recent of these tests, which was administered in January 1972. The use of the tests, together with other actions of the county that plaintiffs described as discriminatory,
The District Court found that the county had engaged in employment discrimination and imposed a comprehensive racially based hiring order.
Respondents have not sought review of the determination of standing by the court below. Accordingly, the county's
The 1972 test was the same as the one administered in 1969, except that some attempt had been made to screen out questions thought to reflect cultural bias. After grading the test, the county announced it would interview only the 544 applicants with the highest scores, rather than the 2,338 applicants who achieved a passing score. On January 8, 1973, five days after interviews began, the county changed its plans and decided to interview all applicants who had passed.
The court below agreed that the county's attempt to use the 1972 test as a selection device "had an adverse impact on the
In addition to requiring an affirmative employment program to achieve specified racial percentages in hiring, the District Court ordered that petitioners "are permanently enjoined and restrained from engaging in any employment practice which discriminates on the basis of race or national origin against the class represented by Plaintiffs in this Action . . . ."
The Court nonetheless holds that this case has become moot, because "there can be no reasonable expectation that petitioners will use an unvalidated civil service examination for the purposes contemplated in 1972," ante, at 631-632. This assumption is contrary to findings of fact by the courts below, is opposed by the parties who are subject to the order to be dismissed, and manifestly is at odds with the record in this case.
Neither of the courts below regarded the county's planned use of the 1972 test as solely a response to what the Court characterizes as a "temporary emergency shortage of firefighters." Ante, at 632. The District Court, in assessing whether petitioners' announced intention to use the 1972 test as a
Nor have petitioners altered their position on the legality of their use of testing since the decision below. Rather, petitioners strongly assert that the controversy is still a live one. The only suggestion of mootness that has been raised in this case comes from the N. A. A. C. P. Legal Defense and Educational Fund, an organization which is an amicus curiae here but has not participated previously in this litigation. Petitioners have attacked this assertion and the factual assumptions on which it rests:
Petitioners continue to use civil service examinations as a threshold barrier for employment consideration, and the record is silent on their validation. To comply with the District Court's order, petitioners have added additional steps to the hiring process to take account of the race of the applicants. The test scores of applicants are ranked separately within each racial group, and the highest scorers are selected for
The fact that the county, upon pain of contempt, has substantially altered its use of examinations by the addition of other steps that take account of applicants' race hardly can support a finding that "there is no reasonable expectation" the county will abandon its additional procedures once the court order requiring them is dismissed. Our previous decisions make clear that a case does not become moot simply because a court order redressing the alleged grievance has been obeyed. NLRB v. Raytheon Co., 398 U.S. 25 (1970); NLRB v. Pennsylvania Greyhound Lines, Inc., 303 U.S. 261, 271 (1938). In United States v. W. T. Grant Co., 345 U.S. 629 (1953), on which the court below relied and which the Court today attempts to distinguish, it was stated:
In my view, there is far less to the mootness issue here than to that presented in W. T. Grant Co. Petitioners, the subject of the lower court's injunction, hotly dispute any suggestion that no live issues remain. Furthermore, they did not cease voluntarily their allegedly illegal conduct and have not disclaimed an intention to resume their use of civil service tests as a primary hiring criterion.
In sum, the Court's disposition leaves all of the parties in positions of uncertainty: Respondents lack protection against the resumption of the county's alleged discrimination, and the county lacks a conclusive determination of the legality of its conduct. All of these considerations militate against a determination of mootness. See Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Corp. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 435 U.S. 519, 535-537, n. 14 (1978). Accordingly, I conclude that the question of whether petitioners violated § 1981 is before
Briefs of amici curiae urging affirmance were filed by Bruce J. Ennis, Burt Neuborne, E. Richard Larson, Fred Okrand, and Paul Hoffman for the American Civil Liberties Union et al.; by Charles A. Bane, Thomas D. Barr, Norman Redlich, Robert A. Murphy, Norman J. Chachkin, Richard T. Seymour, and Richard S. Kohn for the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; and by Jack Greenberg, O. Peter Sherwood, and Eric Schnapper for the N. A. A. C. P. Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
Briefs of amici curiae were filed by Robert A. Helman, Arnold Forster, Jeffrey P. Sinensky, and Richard A. Weisz for the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith; by Vilma S. Martinez, Morris J. Baller, and Joel G. Contreras for the Incorporated Mexican American Government Employees et al.; and by Ronald A. Zumbrun and John H. Findley for the Pacific Legal Foundation.
"All persons within the jurisdiction of the United States shall have the same right in every State and Territory to make and enforce contracts, to sue, be parties, give evidence, and to the full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings for the security of persons and property as is enjoyed by white citizens, and shall be subject to like punishment, pains, penalties, taxes, licenses, and exactions of every kind, and to no other."
"Is a racial quota hiring order to be effective until the entire fire department achieves current racial parity with the general population beyond the jurisdiction of the court when:
"c. The plaintiffs had no standing to represent any pre-March 24, 1972 applicants and no discriminatory hiring has occurred subsequent to Title VII's effective date." (Emphasis added.)
This does not challenge the holding of the Court of Appeals that the threatened use of the 1972 test was itself a Title VII violation, nor, in fact, does it challenge any finding of violation at all. Rather, it is addressed solely to the remedy.
In their brief the petitioners argue that the mere threat to use the test results to rank applicants cannot constitute a violation of Title VII and that a pattern or practice of discrimination must be shown. They also urge that Title VII cannot be applied to local governmental units absent some showing of discriminatory intent. See Dothard v. Rawlinson, 433 U.S. 321, 323 n. 1; Hazelwood School Dist. v. United States, 433 U.S. 299, 306 n. 12. Because these issues were not raised in the petition for certiorari, it is unnecessary to address them.
In addition, the Court of Appeals reversed as clearly erroneous the finding that the height requirement was job related and suggested that the District Court could take further steps to offset the allegedly discriminatory effect of this standard. Id., at 1341-1342, 1343. Petitioners have not sought review of that question; rather they contend that the court below applied the wrong legal standards in assessing generally the legality of their employment practices.
"The Cities of Los Angeles and San Diego are municipal corporations within the State of California. The interests of those cities arise from their positions as public sector employers which have charter requirements to hire individuals based on merit. Pursuant to merit principles, both cities use various personnel tests to hire and to promote individuals in the classified civil service.
"Thus, both cities before this Court as Amici Curiae have interests in maintaining personnel testing programs to fulfill the merit system requirements of their municipal charters, as well as interests in sustaining those personnel tests in litigation." Brief for City of Los Angeles et al. as Amici Curiae in Detroit Edison Co. v. NLRB, O. T. 1978, No. 77-968, pp. 2, 4.
It is instructive to compare the facts of this case with those of DeFunis v. Odegaard, 416 U.S. 312 (1974). Here petitioners have made no change in their hiring procedures except in response to the court order, and have put on this record no evidence that they contemplate any further changes. The Court's belief that petitioners will not resume their use of unvalidated tests rests solely on speculation. In DeFunis, by contrast, the law school had admitted DeFunis to his final quarter in school and represented to this Court that it would make no attempt to rescind this registration. Unlike the case at bar, DeFunis had not brought a class action; hence only his individual right not to be discriminated against in law school admissions was at stake. Id., at 317. Because it was virtually certain that DeFunis never again would need to submit to the admission process he challenged, we held that the case had become moot. Id., at 318. Even the very slight chance that DeFunis might not receive his degree was considered sufficiently substantial by four Members of the Court to render the case a live controversy.