A federal judge upheld a law under which Congress delegated to a commission the politically sensitive task of choosing dozens of military bases to close nationwide.
The National Federation of Federal Employees, which brought suit in April challenging the constitutionality of the law, plans to appeal Tuesday's decision, said A.W. Evans, a spokesman for the group.The union represents 150,000 civilian federal employees, including about 5,000 at three of the installations scheduled to be shut down - Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul, Ill., plus Norton and George Air Force bases in California.
The ruling by U.S. District Judge Stanley Sporkin comes 13 days before the Defense Department is authorized to begin the base closings as an economy measure intended to save $694 million a year with a loss of some 20,000 jobs.
In all, 34 major military installations and 52 smaller ones, including Fort Douglas in Salt Lake City, are to be shut down by 1995, along with the partial closing of five large bases and the consolidation of others.
California would be hardest hit, losing six bases, including the Presidio in San Francisco, headquarters of the 6th Army.