The court held 6-3 the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 limits redress to the Merit Systems Protection Board.
The decision stemmed from a suit filed by Michael B. Elgin, who had been dismissed from a Civil Service job at the U.S. Department of Treasury for failing to register for the draft. He had argued the Military Selective Service Act was unconstitutional because the law requires only that men register.
The court said, however, in a decision written by Justice Clarence Thomas, "Congress intended [CSRA]'s review scheme to provide the exclusive avenue to judicial review for covered employees who challenge covered adverse employment actions, even when those employees argue that a federal statute is unconstitutional."
In his dissent, Justice Samuel Alito argued the courts' right to review administrative decisions is well established.
"In this case, however, the majority relies on a very weak set of inferences to strip the courts of their original jurisdiction over petitioners' claims," Alito said, joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan.