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Hicklin v. Orbeck

Work For Residents Only

Three years later, construction on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline was at its peak, and Alaska Hire began to be seriously enforced. At the same time, some Alaska residents complained that the law was not being enforced well enough. So on 1 March 1976, Alaska Commissioner of Labor Edmund Orbeck issued an order to all unions supplying pipeline workers, commanding them to send all qualified Alaska residents out to be hired before they sent any nonresidents.

Tommy Ray Woodruff, Frederick A. Mathers, Emmett Ray, Betty Cloud, Joseph G. O'Brien, and a group of other pipeline workers were furious. None of them were Alaska residents. (To be a state resident, you must show that you are committed to living there, by registering to vote in that state, having a permanent home there, and not claiming residency in any other state. Thus, even if Woodruff, Mathers, and the rest had spent several months in Alaska, they were not technically residents.)

All but one of the nonresident group had worked on the pipeline before. On 28 April, they filed a complaint in superior court, objecting to the Alaska Hire statute.

At that time, the law also required eligible workers to have been residents for one year. The group of workers objected to that requirement as well. Eventually, Alaska's supreme court struck down the one-year requirement. However, according to a 3-2 vote of the state supreme court, the law's general preference for Alaska residents was permitted by the Constitution.

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1973 to 1980Hicklin v. Orbeck - Significance, Work For Residents Only, Many States, One Nation, Whose Resources Are They?