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UNITED STATES V. LARINOFF, 431 U. S. 864 (1977)

U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Larinoff, 431 U.S. 864 (1977)

United States v. Larinoff

No. 76-413

Argued April 27, 1977

Decided June 13, 1977

431 U.S. 864


Respondent enlisted members of the United States Navy and others similarly situated, who agreed to extend their enlistments at a time when a statute provided for a Variable Re-enlistment Bonus (VRB), in addition to the Regular Re-enlistment Bonus (RRB), for members of the Armed Forces whose ratings were classified as a "critical military skill" held entitled to VRB's determined according to the award level in effect at the time they agreed to extend their enlistments, notwithstanding that the Navy eliminated their ratings from the "critical military skill" list before they began serving their extended enlistments, and that the statutes authorizing the RRB and VRB were repealed and a new Selective Re-enlistment Bonus (SRB) substituted before one of the respondents began to serve his extended enlistment. Pp. 431 U. S. 869-882.

(a) Implementing regulations requiring that the amount of the VRB to be awarded to an enlisted member who extended his enlistment be determined by reference to the award level in effect at the time he began to serve his extended enlistment, rather than at the time he agreed to the extension, are invalid as being contrary to Congress' purpose, as manifested by the legislative history, in enacting the VRB program as an inducement to selected service members to extend their period of service. Whether a service member reenlists or agrees to extend his enlistment, the VRB could only be effective as a selective incentive to extension of service if, at the time he made his decision, the service member could count on receiving it if he elected to remain in the service. Pp. 431 U. S. 869-877.

(b) There is nothing in either the language or legislative history of the statute repealing the RRB and VRB system and establishing a new bonus system to show any intention on the part of Congress to affect the rights of those service members who had extended their enlistments and became entitled to receive VRB's. Pp. 431 U. S. 878-882.

175 U.S. App D.C. 32, 533 F.2d 1167, affirmed.

BRENNAN, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which STEWART, MARSHALL, POWELL, and STEVENS, JJ., joined. WHITE, J filed a dissenting

Page 431 U. S. 865

opinion, in which BURGER, C.J., and BLACKMUN and REHNQUIST, JJ., joined, post, p. 431 U. S. 882.

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