Irish v. Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party of Minnesota, No. 3-68 Civ. 178.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Court of Minnesota
Writing for the CourtWilliam F. Brooks, Jr., Minneapolis, Minn., for defendant Kubicek
Citation287 F. Supp. 794
Docket NumberNo. 3-68 Civ. 178.
Decision Date07 August 1968
PartiesWilliam J. IRISH, Alvin C. Currier, Robert D. Lippert, Michael C. Fleming, Harry Miller, Alex Patrick, Virginia Patrick, David Steen, Glenn Church, Rachael Church, on behalf of themselves and all other persons similarly situated, Plaintiffs, v. DEMOCRATIC-FARMER-LABOR PARTY OF MINNESOTA et al., Defendants.

287 F. Supp. 794

William J. IRISH, Alvin C. Currier, Robert D. Lippert, Michael C. Fleming, Harry Miller, Alex Patrick, Virginia Patrick, David Steen, Glenn Church, Rachael Church, on behalf of themselves and all other persons similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
DEMOCRATIC-FARMER-LABOR PARTY OF MINNESOTA et al., Defendants.

No. 3-68 Civ. 178.

United States District Court D. Minnesota, Third Division.

August 7, 1968.


287 F. Supp. 795
COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED
287 F. Supp. 796
Hyman H. Cohen, Gordon C. Moosbrugger, Kenneth E. Tilsen, and Michael J. Healey, St. Paul, Minn., for plaintiffs

Robert S. Nickoloff, Hibbing, Minn., and Leonid Hurwicz, Minneapolis, Minn., pro se.

William F. Brooks, Jr., Minneapolis, Minn., for defendant Kubicek.

Thomas L. Ulmen, Minneapolis, Minn., for defendants Harris, Vail, Wright, Amram, Dodge, Knight, Lowery, Gruhn, Tomlinson, Snyder, Shear, Dworkin, Heffernan, Smith, Kaibel, Warder, Holmberg, Luther, Berry, Hale, Street, Oatman and Steen.

John D. French, Minneapolis, Minn., with Lawrence D. Cohen, St. Paul, Minn., John P. Karalis and Jonathan Lebedoff, Minneapolis, Minn., of counsel, for remaining defendants with the exception of certain defendants who made no appearance, namely defendants Hart, Powers, Breeze, Warnke, Glenn Peterson, Farr, Jackson, Carl Anderson, Beck, Stimpert, George, Schwartzbauer, Potter, McCarthy, Connolly, Murphy, Reginald Harris, Smaby, Youngdale, Tice, Spellacy, Hebert and Shapiro.

NEVILLE, District Judge.

By this proceeding this court is asked to hold that the "one man-one vote" principle fathered by Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186, 82 S.Ct. 691, 7 L.Ed.2d 663 (1962), decided on the basis of the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution is applicable to a Minnesota state political party convention, so as legally to enable a challenge successfully to be made to the composition of the convention membership and thus void, in part at least, the convention proceedings. No authority has been found for so doing and all of the parties before the court consider this to be a case of first impression. Specifically the complaint asks the court, inter alia, to declare void the election by the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor party (DFL) of 60 delegates to the Democratic National

287 F. Supp. 797
Convention1, and prays for an order requiring the DFL to call new conventions to elect new delegates. The complaint further seeks to enjoin the present delegates, elected at the DFL State Convention on June 21-23, 1968, from participating in the Democratic National Convention "in choosing and electing nominees * * * for the offices of President and Vice President * * *." Plaintiffs filed with their complaint a motion for a preliminary injunction. A substantial number of defendants answered but joined with plaintiffs in their prayer for relief. A majority of defendants, however, answered resisting plaintiffs' prayer for relief and presented a joint motion for a judgment of dismissal on the pleadings, now a summary judgment motion pursuant to Rules 12(c) and 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Before termination of the oral arguments, all parties agreed and the court consented, that the case should be deemed tried and submitted on the merits and the motions submitted merged therewith

Nearly the precise question here presented was expressly left undecided and open in Gray v. Sanders, 372 U.S. 368, 83 S.Ct. 801, 9 L.Ed.2d 821 (1963). The court there held invalid the "unit rule" method of counting votes in a Democratic Primary election, and stated at p. 378, fn. 10, 83 S.Ct. at p. 807:

"We do not reach here the questions that would be presented were the convention system used for nominating candidates in lieu of the primary system."

The instant case presents, in reality, even a more difficult question than the Supreme Court left open in Gray because in Minnesota all state "elective offices," except presidential electors, are subject to the Minnesota primary law. Minn. Stat. § 202.02. Hence, plaintiffs ask us to decide in effect not only that the "one man-one vote" principle is applicable to conventions which actually nominate candidates for state elective offices (which they do not in Minnesota), but to carry the matter one further step to the nomination of delegates, whom it is conceded, are neither state officials nor elective candidates.

The case at bar is not claimed to be one of racial discrimination but rather one involving area misapportionment. The Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution provides that "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged * * * by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude." It is not here contended that the alleged discrimination is of this kind. Further, at the oral argument, plaintiffs withdrew the contention set forth in the complaint to the effect the DFL party officers were illegally elected. Defendants, after production of an affidavit by plaintiffs, abandoned their challenge as to plaintiffs' standing to sue as taxpayers, registered voters and (in varying degrees) participants in precinct, county and district conventions of the DFL party. The court concurs that plaintiffs have standing under Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186, 82 S.Ct. 691, 7 L.Ed.2d 663 (1962); see Flast v. Cohen, 392 U.S. 83, 88 S. Ct. 1942, 20 L.Ed.2d 947, 6/10/68.

A brief summation of the facts is in order.

The Democratic-Farmer-Labor party (DFL) is affiliated with the National Democratic Party and is its counterpart in the State of Minnesota.2

In question here and requested to be declared void is the 1968 election of delegates to the Democratic National Convention. The claim by plaintiffs is that in electing such delegates — 60 persons though casting but 50 votes at the national

287 F. Supp. 798
convention3 — practices leading to gross, invidious and systematic malapportionment and discrimination were pursued

The Minnesota Statutes governing elections are confined largely to a regulation of precinct caucuses, Minn.Stat. §§ 202.22 thru 202.27. There are no statutes regulating county, district or state conventions, though Minnesota Statutes do recognize the existence of political parties and provide that final authority "over affairs of each political party" is vested in the state convention; that the general management of party affairs is vested in "the party's state central committee;" that the state executive committee "shall have charge of the administration of the party's affairs" subject to the convention and the central committee. The statutes require that a copy of the party's constitution shall be filed with the Secretary of State. Minn.Stat. § 202.20. Such action of the DFL party as is here challenged cannot be deemed to be pursuant to nor prohibited by any express Minnesota Constitutional or statutory provisions. Such action as was taken was motivated by the DFL party itself and not pursuant to any express State directive. This leaves open the question whether such comprises "state action" within the meaning of the decided cases. Both the Fifteenth Amendment and particularly the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment limit action that can be taken by the several states.4 This question will be discussed hereinafter.

The State DFL Constitution as amended July 1966 provides in pertinent part as follows:

"Article II — Precinct Caucuses
Section 1. The basis for the party organization structure shall be the precinct caucuses held in the spring of every even-numbered year upon the Call issued by the state chairman subject to the determinations of the State Central Committee and the Minnesota Election Laws. * * * Any person who attends his precinct caucus of this party shall be entitled to vote at that caucus if he qualifies under the membership articles of this Constitution.
Section 2. The duties of the precinct caucuses shall be to elect * * * delegates and alternates to the county and legislative district conventions.
* * * * * *
Article III — County Conventions and Organizations
Section 1. County conventions, composed of the aforementioned precinct delegates shall be held in each county in even-numbered years. It shall be the duty of the county conventions to elect one delegate to the state convention with one vote for each 1,000 votes cast in that county for the leading statewide Democratic-Farmer-Labor candidate or national Democratic candidate at the last general election or last presidential election, whichever is greater, provided, however, that each county shall be allocated at least six votes. * * * They shall also serve as delegates to their respective congressional district conventions. * * * (Emphasis added)
* * * * * *
Article IV — Congressional District Conventions and Organizations
Section 1. Congressional district conventions shall be held in each even-numbered year at a convenient time and place, under the provisions of the Call issued by the state chairman. Such conventions shall be composed of all delegates elected to the state convention within that district and any at-large state convention delegates resident in the district. * * *
287 F. Supp. 799
* * * * * *
Section 3. In presidential election years it shall also be the function of the congressional district convention to nominate the delegates and alternates to the national convention allocated to them in accordance with the rules, regulations and directives of the State Executive Committee and the Democratic National Committee, subject to the ratification of the state convention. (Emphasis added)
* * * * * *
Article VI — State Conventions and Organizations
Section 1. The state convention is the supreme governing body of this party. Subject to the action of the State Central Committee or the State Executive Committee, the state chairman shall call a regular state delegate convention each even-numbered year and may call such other delegate
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  • Buckley v. Valeo, No. 75-1061
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • August 29, 1975
    ...elections differ from state elections and in a sense are sui generis." Irish v. Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party of Minnesota, 287 F.Supp. 794, 803 (D.Minn.), aff'd, 399 F.2d 119 (8th Cir. 1968). The major difference, as the Irish court noted, lies in the fact that Presidents are chosen by the......
  • Ripon Society v. National Republican Party, Nos. 74--1337
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • March 5, 1975
    ...A.2d 261 (1966). The leading contrary holding is Irish v. Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party of Minnesota, 399 F.2d 119 (8th Cir.), aff'g, 287 F.Supp. 794 (D.Minn.1968). Two other oft-cited cases involved 'internal party affairs' as that term is defined herein and are thus distinguishable. See L......
  • Ripon Soc., Inc. v. National Republican Party, Nos. 74--1337
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • February 23, 1976
    ...not deciding that action of regulated transit company constituted 'state action'); Irish v. Democratic Farmer Labor Party of Minnesota, 287 F.Supp. 794 (D.Minn.), Aff'd, 399 F.2d 119 (8th Cir. 1968) (relief denied without decision of whether state party's election of delegates constituted '......
  • League of United Latin American Citizens Council No. 4434 v. Clements, No. 90-8014
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • September 28, 1990
    ...1486, 22 L.Ed.2d 749 (1969) (involving Board of Commissioners of Alabama State Bar) Irish v. Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party of Minnesota, 287 F.Supp. 794 (D.C.Minn.), aff'd, 399 F.2d 119 (8th Buchanan v. Rhodes, 249 F.Supp. 860 (N.D.Ohio 1966), appeal dismissed, 385 U.S. 3, 87 S.Ct. 33, 17 L......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
15 cases
  • Buckley v. Valeo, No. 75-1061
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • August 29, 1975
    ...elections differ from state elections and in a sense are sui generis." Irish v. Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party of Minnesota, 287 F.Supp. 794, 803 (D.Minn.), aff'd, 399 F.2d 119 (8th Cir. 1968). The major difference, as the Irish court noted, lies in the fact that Presidents are chosen by the......
  • Ripon Society v. National Republican Party, Nos. 74--1337
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • March 5, 1975
    ...A.2d 261 (1966). The leading contrary holding is Irish v. Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party of Minnesota, 399 F.2d 119 (8th Cir.), aff'g, 287 F.Supp. 794 (D.Minn.1968). Two other oft-cited cases involved 'internal party affairs' as that term is defined herein and are thus distinguishable. See L......
  • Ripon Soc., Inc. v. National Republican Party, Nos. 74--1337
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • February 23, 1976
    ...not deciding that action of regulated transit company constituted 'state action'); Irish v. Democratic Farmer Labor Party of Minnesota, 287 F.Supp. 794 (D.Minn.), Aff'd, 399 F.2d 119 (8th Cir. 1968) (relief denied without decision of whether state party's election of delegates constituted '......
  • League of United Latin American Citizens Council No. 4434 v. Clements, No. 90-8014
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • September 28, 1990
    ...1486, 22 L.Ed.2d 749 (1969) (involving Board of Commissioners of Alabama State Bar) Irish v. Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party of Minnesota, 287 F.Supp. 794 (D.C.Minn.), aff'd, 399 F.2d 119 (8th Buchanan v. Rhodes, 249 F.Supp. 860 (N.D.Ohio 1966), appeal dismissed, 385 U.S. 3, 87 S.Ct. 33, 17 L......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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