Love v. Griffith

Decision Date20 October 1924
Docket NumberNo. 12,12
Citation266 U.S. 32,69 L.Ed. 157,45 S.Ct. 12
PartiesLOVE et al. v. GRIFFITH et al
CourtU.S. Supreme Court

Mr. R. D. Evans, of Waco, Tex., for plaintiffs in error.

Mr. Justice HOLMES delivered the opinion of the Court.

This is a bill in equity alleging that the plaintiffs are qualified electors residing in Houston, Texas, and of the Democratic political faith; that on January 27, 1921, the City Democratic Executive Committee of Houston made and published a rule that negroes would not be allowed to vote in the Democratic City Primary Election to be held on February 9, 1921; that the Committee and Judges of Election threatened to enforce the rule, contrary to the Constitution of the United States; and praying an injunction to restrain the Committee and Judges of Election from carrying out their threats. The bill was filed on February 3, 1921. On February 5, 1921, it was demurred to generally, the demurrer maintaining that the rule did not infringe the Fifteenth Amendment. On February 7, 1921, the demurrer was sustained and the bill was dismissed with costs. The plaintiffs appealed to the Court of Civil Appeals, but that Court held that at the date of its decision, months after the election, the cause of action had ceased to exist and that the appeal would not be entertained on the question of costs alone. It therefore dismissed the appeal with costs. Error is assigned here on the ground that the Fifteenth Amendment prohibits the discrimination which was made the basis of the complaint, and that the decision denied the plaintiffs their constitutional rights.

When as here there is a plain assertion of federal rights in the lower court, local rules as to how far it shall be reviewed on appeal do not necessarily prevail. Davis v. Wechsler, 263 U. S. 22, 24, 44 S. Ct. 13, 68 L. Ed. 143. Whether the right was denied or not given due recognition by the Court of Civil Appeals is a question as to which the plaintiffs are entitled to invoke our judgment. Ward v. Love County, 253 U. S. 17, 22, 40 S. Ct. 419, 64 L. Ed. 751. If the case stood here as it stood before the court of first instance it would present a grave question of constitutional law and we should be astute to avoid hindrances in the way of taking it up. But that is not the situation. The rule promulgated by the Democratic Executive Committee was for a single election only that had taken place long before the decision of the Appellate Court. No constitutional rights of the plaintiffs...

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19 cases
  • John King Mfg Co v. City Council of August, 392
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • May 14, 1928
    ...under a state has been challenged and sustained. Schwab v. Richardson, 263 U. S. 88, 44 S. Ct. 60, 68 L. Ed. 183; Love v. Griffith, 266 U. S. 32, 45 S. Ct. 12, 69 L. Ed. 157; Appleby v. Delaney, 271 U. S. 403, 46 S. Ct. 581, 70 L. Ed. 1009. Possibly, under the view announced by the court, e......
  • Joe Sterling Et Al. on Habeas Corpus, In re
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
    • June 22, 1965 the [state court] * * * is a question as to which the plaintiffs are entitled to invoke our judgment.' (Love v. Griffith, 266 U.S. 32, 33-34, 45 S.Ct. 12, 69 L.Ed. 157.) The court observed that unless state procedural rules served a legitimate state interest, they ought not to be permitt......
  • Akiachak Native Cmty. v. U.S. Dep't of the Interior
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — District of Columbia Circuit
    • July 1, 2016 injunction barring its application to the property in question. 404 U.S. at 414–15, 92 S.Ct. 574 ; see also Love v. Griffith , 266 U.S. 32, 34, 45 S.Ct. 12, 69 L.Ed. 157 (1924) (holding that a constitutional challenge to a rule prohibiting African Americans from voting in a past primary ......
  • Zukerman v. U.S. Postal Serv.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Columbia
    • April 26, 2019 property moot where no court could grant "[t]he only relief sought in the complaint" (emphasis added)); Love v. Griffith, 266 U.S. 32, 34, 45 S.Ct. 12, 69 L.Ed. 157 (1924) (finding challenge to rule prohibiting African Americans from voting in past primary election moot because "bill......
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