Glisson v. Mayor and Councilmen of Town of Savannah Beach

Decision Date20 May 1965
Docket NumberNo. 21754.,21754.
Citation346 F.2d 135
PartiesHenry H. GLISSON, Hubert K. Ellzey and E. C. Bobo, Appellants, v. The MAYOR AND COUNCILMEN OF the TOWN OF SAVANNAH BEACH, TYBEE ISLAND, GEORGIA, et al., Appellees.
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Fifth Circuit

Aaron Kravitch, John Wright Jones, Phyllis Kravitch, Savannah, Ga., for appellants.

Alex A. Lawrence, Anton F. Solms, Jr., A. Pratt Adams, Jr., Savannah, Ga., for appellees.

Before TUTTLE, Chief Judge, and PHILLIPS* and WISDOM, Circuit Judges.

TUTTLE, Chief Judge.

This and the companion case G. W. Oliver, et al., v. The Mayor and Councilmen of the Town of Savannah Beach, et al., 346 F.2d 133, decided this day, represent the latest episode in the protracted quarrel between the permanent residents of Savannah Beach, Georgia, and the summer-time visitors of that community who own property there over the franchise in municipal elections.

Savannah Beach is a resort community located on the Atlantic coast in Chatham County, Georgia. In municipal elections, two classes of persons are entitled to vote: (1) permanent residents of Savannah Beach regardless of whether they own property, and, (2) non-residents who own property in Savannah Beach and who reside in Chatham County. The trial court found that 712 registered voters are in the permanent resident class and 467 registered voters are in the property owner-Chatham County class. The court also found that "the assessed value of property returned by non-resident property owners amounted as of May 1, 1962, to $2,852,040.00, while the assessed property value of permanent residents totalled $1,586,485.00." It was further found that "a substantial majority of the non-resident property owners reside at Savannah Beach for a period of one to four months during the summer." There is no dispute as to any of these facts.

The plaintiffs in this case are permanent residents of Savannah Beach. They contend that the statute permitting non-resident property owners to vote amounts to invidious discrimination against the permanent residents in that: (1) it dilutes the voting strength of the permanent residents; (2) it gives the non-residents a chance to vote in two municipal elections, while the permanent residents can only vote in one, and (3) it gives the right to vote to several non-residents who are joint owners of a single piece of property.

The plaintiffs also attack the statute which prescribes that three of the six town councilmen must come from the non-resident-property owner group.

In their complaint the appellants demanded the convening of a three-judge district court which was denied by the trial court. Appellants here contend that this was error, and they attack the dismissal of the complaint on the merits as well.

We agree that the trial court correctly refused to certify the need for a three-judge court and the ground for its denial: "A district court judge is not required to convene a three-judge district court where the question is settled by previous decision of the United States Supreme Court, or where no substantial federal question exists." See Bailey v. Patterson, 369 U.S. 31, 82 S.Ct. 549, 7 L.Ed.2d 512; Board of Supervisors etc. v. Ludley, 5 Cir., 252 F.2d 372, 376. See also, as a reason for denying a three-judge court, Rorick v. Board of Commissioners, etc., 307 U.S. 208, 59 S.Ct. 808, 83 L.Ed. 1242.

The basis of the...

To continue reading

Request your trial
16 cases
  • Bjornestad v. Hulse
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
    • May 22, 1991
    ...of Savannah Beach (S.D.Ga.) 207 F.Supp. 688, Aff'd., 371 U.S. 206, 83 S.Ct. 304, 9 L.Ed.2d 269 (1962); Glisson v. Mayor and Councilmen of Savannah Beach (5th Cir.1965) 346 F.2d 135.) The third case concerned municipal elections in Chattanooga, Tennessee. (Brown v. Board of Com'rs of Chattan......
  • Levy v. Miami-Dade County
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Southern District of Florida
    • February 27, 2003
    ...U.S. 206, 83 S.Ct. 304, 9 L.Ed.2d 269 (1962); Creel v. Freeman, 531 F.2d 286, 288 (5th Cir.1976);26 Glisson v. Mayor & Councilmen of Town of Savannah Beach, 346 F.2d 135, 137 (5th Cir.1965). Thus, the burden is on Plaintiffs to show that the interests of city residents in the affairs and go......
  • Haffke v. State of California
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Central District of California
    • March 23, 1971
    ...88 S.Ct. 768, 19 L.Ed.2d 840 (1968); Herald Co. v. Harper, 410 F.2d 125, 128 (8th Cir. 1969); Glisson v. Mayor and Councilmen of Town of Savannah Beach, 346 F.2d 135, 136 (5th Cir. 1965); Glancy v. Parole Bd. of Michigan Dept. of Corrections, 287 F.Supp. 34, 37 (W.D.Mich.1968); Morrison v. ......
  • Brown v. Board of Com'rs of Chattanooga, Tenn.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of Tennessee
    • August 8, 1989 vote in Chattanooga's municipal elections. The "rational basis" test was used by the Fifth Circuit in Glisson v. Mayor and Councilmen of Savannah Beach, 346 F.2d 135 (5th Cir.1965), and by the district court in Spahos v. Mayor and Councilmen of Savannah Beach, 207 F.Supp. 688 (S.D. Ga.),......
  • 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