General Dynamics Land Systems, Inc. v. Cline, 540 U.S. 581, 4 (2004)

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Opinion of the Court

Acting Solicitor General Clement argued the cause for the United States et al. as amici curiae urging affirmance. With him on the brief were Irving L. Gornstein, Carolyn L. Wheeler, Lorraine C. Davis, Robert J. Gregory, and Susan R. Oxford.*

Justice Souter delivered the opinion of the Court.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA or Act), 81 Stat. 602, 29 U. S. C. 621 et seq., forbids discriminatory preference for the young over the old. The question in this case is whether it also prohibits favoring the old over the young. We hold it does not.


In 1997, a collective-bargaining agreement between petitioner General Dynamics and the United Auto Workers eliminated the company's obligation to provide health benefits to subsequently retired employees, except as to then-current workers at least 50 years old. Respondents (collectively, Cline) were then at least 40 and thus protected by the Act, see 29 U. S. C. 631(a), but under 50 and so without promise of the benefits. All of them objected to the new terms, although some had retired before the change in order to get

*Briefs of amici curiae urging reversal were filed for AARP by Laurie A. McCann, Daniel B. Kohrman, and Melvin Radowitz; for the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations et al. by Jonathan P. Hiatt, James B. Coppess, Daniel W. Sherrick, Michael F. Saggau, and Laurence Gold; for the Central States, Southeast and Southwest Areas Health and Welfare Fund by Thomas C. Nyhan, James P. Condon, and John J. Franczyk, Jr.; for the Equal Employment Advisory Council et al. by Ann Elizabeth Reesman, Daniel V. Yager, Katherine Y. K. Cheung, Stephen A. Bokat, Robin S. Conrad, and Ellen Dunham Bryant; for the ERISA Industry Committee by Caroline M. Brown and John M. Vine; and for the National Education Association by Robert H. Chanin, John M. West, and Douglas L. Greenfield.

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