Harper v. Virginia State Board of Elections, Civ. A. No. 3253

CourtUnited States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Virginia)
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM
Citation240 F. Supp. 270
PartiesAnnie E. HARPER et al., Plaintiffs, v. VIRGINIA STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS et al., Defendants. Mrs. Evelyn BUTTS, Plaintiff, v. Albertis HARRISON, Governor, et al., Defendants.
Decision Date10 November 1964
Docket NumberCiv. A. No. 3253,3346.

240 F. Supp. 270

Annie E. HARPER et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
VIRGINIA STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS et al., Defendants.

Mrs. Evelyn BUTTS, Plaintiff,
v.
Albertis HARRISON, Governor, et al., Defendants.

Civ. A. Nos. 3253, 3346.

United States District Court E. D. Virginia, at Alexandria.

Argued October 21, 1964.

Decided November 10, 1964.


J. A. Jordan, Jr., Norfolk, Va., Len W. Holt, Washington, D. C., and Max Dean and Robert L. Segar, Flint, Mich., for plaintiffs in No. 3346.

Ira M. Lechner and Allison W. Brown, Jr., Washington, D. C., and Philip Schwartz, Arlington County, Arlington, Va., for plaintiffs in No. 3253.

Robert Y. Button, Atty. Gen. of Virginia, and Richard N. Harris, Asst. Atty. Gen. of Virginia, Richmond, Va., for defendants Virginia State Board of Elections in No. 3253 and for Albertis Harrison, Governor, in No. 3346.

Donald C. Crounse, Asst. Commonwealth's Atty., Fairfax County, Va., for Electoral Board of Fairfax County and Waneta M. Buckley, General Registrar of Fairfax County, Va., in No. 3253.

240 F. Supp. 271

Alfred W. Whitehead, Commonwealth's Atty., City of Norfolk, Norfolk, Va., for Mary Dudley, City Registrar, City of Norfolk, Alex H. Bell, City Treasurer, City of Norfolk, and William Prieur, Clerk, Corporation Court, City of Norfolk, in No. 3346.

Before BRYAN, Circuit Judge, and LEWIS and BUTZNER, District Judges.

PER CURIAM:

Poll tax payment as a prerequisite to voting in State and local elections, exacted by the Constitution and statutes of Virginia,1 is attacked in these two consolidated actions as violative of the no-abridgment and equal protection commands of the Federal Fourteenth Amendment. A corollary attack is made upon the provision of the State constitution excluding "paupers" as persons entitled to vote in any election.2

The common premise of the assaults is: that the plaintiffs are financially unable to pay the tax—$1.50 for each of the 3 preceding years for which the elector was assessable; and that they and other State citizens similarly impecunious are thereby deprived, solely on account of their poverty, of the privilege to vote, and at the same time they are also denied a privilege accorded other citizens not so poor.

Notwithstanding the plaintiffs' impoverishment and eligibility to vote, their denunciation of the State constitutional and statutory poll tax requirements has been squarely refuted by the Supreme Court in Breedlove v. Suttles, 302 U.S. 277, 283, 58 S.Ct. 205, 82 L.Ed. 252 (1937). We are...

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3 practice notes
  • Harper v. Virginia State Board of Elections Butts v. Harrison, Nos. 48
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • March 24, 1966
    ...Court, feeling bound by our decision in Breedlove v. Suttles, 302 U.S. 277, 58 S.Ct. 205, 82 L.Ed. 252, dismissed the complaint. See 240 F.Supp. 270. The cases came here on appeal and we noted probable jurisdiction. 380 U.S. 930, 85 S.Ct. 942, 13 L.Ed.2d 819, 382 U.S. 806, 86 S.Ct. 94, 15 L......
  • United States v. State of Texas, Civ. A. No. 1570.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Western District of Texas
    • February 9, 1966
    ...United States v. Mississippi, S.D.Miss.1965, No. 3791; Harper v. Virginia State Board of Elections (Butts v. Harrison), E.D.Va.1964, 240 F.Supp. 270, appeal pending, 382 U.S. 806, 86 S.Ct. 94, 15 L.Ed.2d 57 (brought prior to Voting Rights Act of 1965, United States as amicus 2 Sec. 10(a) Th......
  • United States v. State of Alabama, Civ. A. No. 2255-N.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Middle District of Alabama
    • March 3, 1966
    ...akin to those of the plaintiffs here, including the economic factor, and rejected them." Harper v. Virginia State Board of Elections, 240 F.Supp. 270, 271 When Harper was argued before the Supreme Court, Mr. Justice Clark posed the following question: Mr. Justice Clark: "What do you do with......
3 cases
  • Harper v. Virginia State Board of Elections Butts v. Harrison, Nos. 48
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • March 24, 1966
    ...Court, feeling bound by our decision in Breedlove v. Suttles, 302 U.S. 277, 58 S.Ct. 205, 82 L.Ed. 252, dismissed the complaint. See 240 F.Supp. 270. The cases came here on appeal and we noted probable jurisdiction. 380 U.S. 930, 85 S.Ct. 942, 13 L.Ed.2d 819, 382 U.S. 806, 86 S.Ct. 94, 15 L......
  • United States v. State of Texas, Civ. A. No. 1570.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Western District of Texas
    • February 9, 1966
    ...United States v. Mississippi, S.D.Miss.1965, No. 3791; Harper v. Virginia State Board of Elections (Butts v. Harrison), E.D.Va.1964, 240 F.Supp. 270, appeal pending, 382 U.S. 806, 86 S.Ct. 94, 15 L.Ed.2d 57 (brought prior to Voting Rights Act of 1965, United States as amicus 2 Sec. 10(a) Th......
  • United States v. State of Alabama, Civ. A. No. 2255-N.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Middle District of Alabama
    • March 3, 1966
    ...akin to those of the plaintiffs here, including the economic factor, and rejected them." Harper v. Virginia State Board of Elections, 240 F.Supp. 270, 271 When Harper was argued before the Supreme Court, Mr. Justice Clark posed the following question: Mr. Justice Clark: "What do you do with......

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