Fairchild v. Hughes, 148

Decision Date27 February 1922
Docket NumberNo. 148,148
PartiesFAIRCHILD v. HUGHES, Secretary of State, et al
CourtU.S. Supreme Court

Messrs. Wm. L. Marbury and Thomas F. Cadwalader, both of Baltimore, Everett P. Wheeler, of New York City, Alfred D. Smith, of Washington, D. C., and Waldo G. Morse, of New York City, for appellant.

Mr. Solicitor General Beck, of Washington, D. C., for appellees.

Mr. Justice BRANDEIS delivered the opinion of the Court.

On July 7, 1920, Charles S. Fairchild, of New York, brought this suit in the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia against the Secretary of State and the Attorney General. The prayers of the bill are that 'the so-called Suffrage Amendment [the Nineteenth to the federal Constitution] be declared unconstitutional and void'; that the Secretary of State be restrained from issuing any proclamation declaring that it has been ratified; and that the Attorney General be restrained from enforcing it. There is also a prayer for general relief and for an interlocutory injunction. The plaintiff, and others on whose behalf he sues, are citizens of the United States, taxpayers and members of the American Constitutional League, a voluntary association which describes itself as engaged in diffusing 'knowledge as to the fundamental principles of the American Constitution, and especially that which gives to each state the right to determine for itself the question as to who should exercise the elective franchise therein.'

The claim to relief was rested upon the following allegations: The Legislatures of 34 of the states have passed resolutions purporting to ratify the Suffrage Amendment; and from one other state the Secretary of State of the United States has received a certificate to that effect purporting to come from the proper officer. The proposed amendment cannot, for reasons stated, be made a part of the Constitution through ratification by the Legislatures, and there are also specific reasons why the resolutions already adopted in several of the states are inoperative. But the Secretary has declared that he is without power to examine into the validity of alleged acts of ratification, and that, upon receiving from one additional state the customary certificate, he will issue a proclamation declaring that the Suffrage Amendment has been adopted. Furthermore, 'a force bill' has been introduced in the Senate, which provides fine and imprisonment for any person who refuses to allow women to vote, and, if the bill is enacted, the Attorney General will be required to enforce its provisions. The threatened proclamation of the adoption of the amendment would not be conclusive of its validity, but it would lead election officers to permit women to vote in states whose Constitutions limit suffrage to men. This would prevent ascertainment of the wishes of the legally qualified voters, and elections, state and federal, would be void. Free citizens would be deprived of their right to have such elections duly held, the effectiveness of their votes would be diminished, and election expenses would be nearly doubled. Thus irremediable mischief would result.

The Supreme Court of the District granted a rule to show cause why an interlocutory injunction should not issue. The return was promptly made, and the defendants also moved to dismiss the bill. On July 14, 1920, the rule was discharged, a...

To continue reading

Request your trial
151 cases
  • Wilkinson v. Legal Services Corporation, Civil Action No. 91-0889 (JHG) (D. D.C. 1998)
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Columbia
    • November 1, 1998
    ...be the "right, possessed by every citizen, to require that the government be administered according to law . . . " See Fairchild v. Hughes, 258 U.S. 126, 129-30 (1922). Although in Fairchild, the Court found that plaintiffs had no standing to sue because no injury from the alleged wrong had......
  • United States v. State
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Western District of Texas
    • October 6, 2021
    ...Court thought of standing and cause of action as analytically distinct concepts; indeed, it was not until the Supreme Court decided Fairchild v. Hughes in 1922 that the Supreme Court began directly addressing the "right to sue" as such. Fairchild v. Hughes , 258 U.S. 126, 129, 42 S.Ct. 274,......
  • Muransky v. Godiva Chocolatier, Inc., No. 16-16486 & 16-16783
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Eleventh Circuit
    • October 28, 2020
    ...word that had not yet entered the legal lexicon—on their citizen or taxpayer status alone. See Fairchild v. Hughes , 258 U.S. 126, 129–130, 42 S.Ct. 274, 66 L.Ed. 499 (1922) (dismissing a challenge to the ratification process of the Nineteenth Amendment because the plaintiff "ha[d] only the......
  • Heckler v. Mathews
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • March 5, 1984
    ...administered according to law. . . .' " Baker v. Carr, supra, 369 U.S., at 208, 82 S.Ct., at 705, quoting Fairchild v. Hughes, 258 U.S. 126, 129, 42 S.Ct. 274, 275, 66 L.Ed. 499 (1922). 10 This conclusion is not, contrary to appellee's suggestion, altered by the fact that in January 1977 th......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
14 books & journal articles
  • Table of Cases
    • United States
    • The Path of Constitutional Law Suplemmentary Materials
    • January 1, 2007
    ...584 Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Saudi Basic Industries Corp., 544 U.S. 280, 125 S.Ct. 1517, 161 L.Ed.2d 454 (2005), 618-19 F Fairchild v. Hughes, 258 U.S. 126, 42 S.Ct. 274, 66 L.Ed. 499 (1922), 629 Fargo Women's Health Organization v. Schafer, 507 U.S. 1013, 113 S.Ct. 1668, 123 L.Ed.2d 285 (1993)......
  • Abusing the Judicial Power: a Geographic Approach to Address Nationwide Injunctions and State Standing
    • United States
    • Emory University School of Law Emory Law Journal No. 70-6, 2021
    • Invalid date
    ...party to an action if he has no interest in it. A plaintiff cannot properly sue for wrongs that do not affect him."); Fairchild v. Hughes, 258 U.S. 126, 129-30 (1922) (noting that a plaintiff does not have the right to "secure by indirection a determination whether a statute . . . [is] vali......
  • Mootness and citizen suit civil penalty claims under the Clean Water Act: a post-Lujan reassessment.
    • United States
    • Environmental Law Vol. 25 No. 3, June 1995
    • June 22, 1995
    ...(100) See infra note 108 and accompanying text. (101) See Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 577 (1992); Fairchild v. Hughes, 258 U.S. 126, 129-30 (1922) (holding that the plaintiff established no case or controversy, as constitutionally required, because the general right "posse......
  • Article III Separation of Powers, Standing, and the Rejection of a 'Public Rights' Model of Environmental Citizen Suits
    • United States
    • The Clean Water Act and the Constitution. Legal Structure and the Public's Right to a Clean and Healthy Environment Part II
    • April 20, 2009
    ...97. Id . at 107. 98. Id . at 106 (citing Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 572, 22 ELR 20913 (1992); Fairchild v. Hughes, 258 U.S. 126, 129-30 (1922)). 99. Id . at 107. ch08.indd 207 4/30/09 10:12:05 AM 208 the clean water act and the constitution because only those types of rel......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT