394 U.S. 814 (1969), 620, Moore v. Ogilvie

Docket Nº:No. 620
Citation:394 U.S. 814, 89 S.Ct. 1493, 23 L.Ed.2d 1
Party Name:Moore v. Ogilvie
Case Date:May 05, 1969
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 814

394 U.S. 814 (1969)

89 S.Ct. 1493, 23 L.Ed.2d 1




No. 620

United States Supreme Court

May 5, 1969

Argued March 27, 1969




Appellants, who were independent candidates for presidential electors from Illinois in the 1968 election, sought declaratory and injunctive relief from a denial of certification by appellees, members of the State's Electoral Board. An Illinois statute provides that nominating petitions for independent candidates must have 25,000 signatures, including 200 signatures from each of at least 50 of the State's 102 counties. Appellants' petitions contained over 25,000 signatures, but not 200 voters from each of 50 counties. Of the State's registered voters, 93.4% reside in the 49 most populous counties, and only 6.6% in the remaining 53 counties. The District Court dismissed the complaint, relying on MacDougall v. Green, 335 U.S. 281.


1. The case is not moot, as the burden which MacDougall v. Green, supra, placed on nominations for statewide offices controls future elections, and reflects a continuing federal-state controversy which needs resolution. P. 816.

2. The Illinois statute, which is an integral part of the election process, applies a rigid, arbitrary formula to sparsely settled counties and populous counties alike, and thus discriminates against the residents of the populous counties in the exercise of their political rights in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. MacDougall v. Green, supra, overruled. Pp. 816-819.

293 F.Supp. 411, reversed.

Page 815

DOUGLAS, J., lead opinion

Opinion of the Court by MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS, announced by MR. JUSTICE BRENNAN.

This is a suit for declaratory relief and for an injunction, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2201, 2202, brought by appellants who are independent candidates for the offices of electors of President and Vice President of the United States from Illinois. The defendants or appellees are members of the Illinois Electoral Board. Ill.Rev.Stat., c. 46, §§ 7-14. In 1968, appellants filed with appellees petitions containing the names of 26,500 qualified voters who desired that appellants be nominated. The appellees ruled that appellants could not be certified to the county clerks for the November, 1968, election because of a proviso added in 1935 to an Illinois statute requiring that at least 25,000 electors sign a petition to nominate such candidates. The proviso reads:

that included in the aggregate total of 25,000 signatures are the signatures of 200 qualified voters from each of at least 60 counties.

Ill.Rev.Stat., c. 46, § 10-3 (1967).

A three-judge District Court was convened, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2281, 2284, which, feeling bound by MacDougall v. Green, 336 U.S. 281, dismissed the complaint for failure to state a cause of action. 293 F.Supp. 411. The case is here on appeal. 28 U.S.C. § 1263.

On October 8, 1968, the same day the case was docketed, appellants filed a motion to advance and expedite the hearing and disposition of this cause. Appellees opposed the motion. On October 14, 1968, we entered the following order:

Because of the representation of the State of Illinois that "it would be a physical impossibility" for the State "to effectuate the relief which the appellants seek," the "Motion to Advance and Expedite the

Page 816

Hearing and Disposition of this Cause" is denied. MR. JUSTICE FORTAS would grant the motion. 393 U.S. 814.

Appellees urged in a motion to dismiss that, since the November 5, 1968, election has been held, there is no possibility of granting any relief to appellants, and that the appeal should be dismissed. But while the 1968 election is over, the burden which MacDougall v. Green, supra, allowed to be placed on the nomination of candidates for statewide offices remains and controls future elections, as long as Illinois maintains her present system as she has done since 1935...

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