273 U.S. 536 (1927), 117, Nixon v. Herndon

Docket NºNo. 117
Citation273 U.S. 536, 47 S.Ct. 446, 71 L.Ed. 759
Party NameNixon v. Herndon
Case DateMarch 07, 1927
CourtUnited States Supreme Court

Page 536

273 U.S. 536 (1927)

47 S.Ct. 446, 71 L.Ed. 759

Nixon

v.

Herndon

No. 117

United States Supreme Court

March 7, 1927

Argued January 4, 1927

ERROR TO THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS

Syllabus

1. An action for damages may be maintained against judge of election for unlawfully denying to a qualified voter the right to vote at a state primary election. P. 540.

2. A State statute (Texas, 1923, Art. 309a) barring negroes from participation in Democratic party primary elections held in the State for the nomination of candidates for senator and representatives in Congress, and state and other offices, violates the Fourteenth Amendment. P. 540.

Reversed.

ERROR to a judgment of the District Court which dismissed an action for damages brought by a negro against judges of election in Texas, based on their refusal to permit the plaintiff to vote at a primary election.

Page 539

HOLMES, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE HOLMES delivered the opinion of the Court.

This is an action against the Judges of Elections for refusing to permit the plaintiff to vote at a primary election in Texas. It lays the damages at five thousand dollars. The petition alleges that the plaintiff is a negro, a citizen of the United States and of Texas and a resident of El Paso, and in every way qualified to vote, as set forth in detail, except that the statute to be mentioned interferes with his right; that, on July 26, 1924, a primary election was held at El Paso for the nomination of candidates for a senator and representatives in Congress and State and other offices, upon the Democratic ticket; that

Page 540

the plaintiff, being a member of the Democratic party, sought to vote but was denied the right by defendants; that the denial was based upon a Statute of Texas enacted in May, 1923, and designated Article 3093a, by the words of which "in no event shall a negro be eligible to participate in a Democratic party primary election held in the State of Texas," &c., and that this statute is contrary to the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States. The defendants moved to dismiss upon the ground that the subject matter of the suit was political, and not within the jurisdiction of the Court and that no violation of the Amendments was shown. The suit was dismissed, and a writ of error was taken directly to this Court. Here, no argument was made on behalf of the...

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266 practice notes
  • 38 S.W.2d 677 (Ky.App. 1931), Shields v. Booles
    • United States
    • Kentucky Court of Appeals of Kentucky
    • May 5, 1931
    ...wrong. It is true that a voter may maintain an action against persons who wrongfully deprive him of the right to vote. Nixon v. Herndon, 273 U.S. 536, 47 S.Ct. 446, 71 L.Ed. 759; Wiley v. Sinkler, 179 U.S. 58, 21 S.Ct. 17, 45 L.Ed. 84; Giles v. Harris, 189 U.S. 475, 23 S.Ct. 639, 47 L.Ed. 9......
  • 304 N.Y. 474, Schwartz v. Heffernan
    • United States
    • New York New York Court of Appeals
    • November 20, 1952
    ...defendants of their statutory duty makes them answerable in damages to plaintiff. (Goetcheus v. Matthewson, 61 N.Y. 420; Nixon v. Herndon, 273 U.S. 536; Frank v. Eaton, 225 A.D. 149; Larson v. Marsh, 144 Neb. 644.) IV. The remedy provided by section 330 of the Election Law is not exclusive.......
  • 113 S.W.2d 388 (Tenn. 1938), Gates v. Long
    • United States
    • Tennessee Supreme Court of Tennessee
    • February 12, 1938
    ...three times said that citizens were entitled to the protection of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Federal Constitution. Nixon v. Herndon, 273 U.S. 536, 47 S.Ct. 446, 71 L.Ed. 759; Nixon v. Condon, 286 U.S. 73, 52 S.Ct. 484, 76 L.Ed. 984, 88 A.L.R. 458; Grovey v. Townsend, 295 U.S. 45, 55 S.......
  • 146 S.W.2d 1027 (Tex.Civ.App. 1940), 4078, Miller v. El Paso County
    • United States
    • Texas Court of Appeals of Texas Court of Civil Appeals of Texas
    • December 19, 1940
    ...announced by Professor Mechem, somewhat extended, is recognized in the following authorities: 9 Tex.Jur. pp. 551, 552; Nixon v. Herndon, 273 U.S. 536, 47 S.Ct. 446, 71 L.Ed. 759. We do not think the Legislature may make eligibility to office dependent on religious, social, industrial or eco......
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225 cases
  • 38 S.W.2d 677 (Ky.App. 1931), Shields v. Booles
    • United States
    • Kentucky Court of Appeals of Kentucky
    • May 5, 1931
    ...wrong. It is true that a voter may maintain an action against persons who wrongfully deprive him of the right to vote. Nixon v. Herndon, 273 U.S. 536, 47 S.Ct. 446, 71 L.Ed. 759; Wiley v. Sinkler, 179 U.S. 58, 21 S.Ct. 17, 45 L.Ed. 84; Giles v. Harris, 189 U.S. 475, 23 S.Ct. 639, 47 L.Ed. 9......
  • 304 N.Y. 474, Schwartz v. Heffernan
    • United States
    • New York New York Court of Appeals
    • November 20, 1952
    ...defendants of their statutory duty makes them answerable in damages to plaintiff. (Goetcheus v. Matthewson, 61 N.Y. 420; Nixon v. Herndon, 273 U.S. 536; Frank v. Eaton, 225 A.D. 149; Larson v. Marsh, 144 Neb. 644.) IV. The remedy provided by section 330 of the Election Law is not exclusive.......
  • 113 S.W.2d 388 (Tenn. 1938), Gates v. Long
    • United States
    • Tennessee Supreme Court of Tennessee
    • February 12, 1938
    ...three times said that citizens were entitled to the protection of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Federal Constitution. Nixon v. Herndon, 273 U.S. 536, 47 S.Ct. 446, 71 L.Ed. 759; Nixon v. Condon, 286 U.S. 73, 52 S.Ct. 484, 76 L.Ed. 984, 88 A.L.R. 458; Grovey v. Townsend, 295 U.S. 45, 55 S.......
  • 146 S.W.2d 1027 (Tex.Civ.App. 1940), 4078, Miller v. El Paso County
    • United States
    • Texas Court of Appeals of Texas Court of Civil Appeals of Texas
    • December 19, 1940
    ...announced by Professor Mechem, somewhat extended, is recognized in the following authorities: 9 Tex.Jur. pp. 551, 552; Nixon v. Herndon, 273 U.S. 536, 47 S.Ct. 446, 71 L.Ed. 759. We do not think the Legislature may make eligibility to office dependent on religious, social, industrial or eco......
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1 firm's commentaries
  • Copy of SCOTUS Ruling: Key Part of Voting Rights Act Unconstitutional (Shelby v. Holder)
    • United States
    • JD Supra United States
    • June 25, 2013
    ...the Court, in 1927, held unconstitutional a Texas law barring black voters from participating in primary elections, Nixon v. Herndon, 273 U. S. 536, 541; in 1944, the Court struck down a “reenacted” and slightly altered version of the same law, Smith v. Allwright, 321 U. S. 649, 658; and in......
40 books & journal articles
  • Transtemporal separation of powers in the law of precedent.
    • United States
    • Notre Dame Law Review Vol. 87 Nbr. 4, April 2012
    • April 1, 2012
    ...at 827. (237) 295 U.S. 45 (1935). (238) See Allwright, 321 U.S. at 664-66 (overruling Grovey, 295 U.S. 45). (239) See Nixon v. Herndon, 273 U.S. 536, 540-41 (1927). (240) See Nixon v. Condon, 286 U.S. 73, 89 (1932). (241) See Grovey, 295 U.S. at 47, 55. (242) Id. at 55. (243) Id. (244) Smit......
  • The multimember district: a study of the multimember district and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
    • United States
    • Albany Law Review Vol. 66 Nbr. 1, September 2002
    • September 22, 2002
    ...Louisiana referred to the 1965 statistic. Id. (15) 1961 U.S. COMM'N ON CIVIL RIGHTS, REPORT ON VOTING: BOOK 1 app. at 251-312 (1961). (16) 273 U.S. 536 (1927). (17) See id. at 540-41 (holding that a statute which prohibited African Americans from voting in Democratic party primaries was a b......
  • Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas
    • United States
    • West's Encyclopedia of American Law Milestones in the Law
    • January 1, 2005
    ...316 U.S. 535. See also Cities Service Gas Co. v. Peerless Oil & Gas Co., 340 U.S. 179, 186. Justice Holmes in Nixon v. Herndon, 273 U.S. 536, 541, recognized and restated a long established and well settled judicial proposition when he described the Fourteenth Amendment's prohibition ag......
  • Exceptions to Standard Free Speech Doctrine
    • United States
    • The Path of Constitutional Law Part IV: The Final Cause Of Constitutional Law Sub-Part Four: The First Amendment
    • January 1, 2007
    ...Terry, 108 F.3d 637, 646-48 (6th Cir. 1997); Majors, 361 F.3d at 355-58 (Easterbrook, J., dubitante). [321] See, e.g., Nixon v. Herndon, 273 U.S. 536 (1927) (statute excluding blacks from primaries was invalid racial discrimination under the 14th Amendment); Nixon v. Condon, 286 U.S. 73 (19......
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