Mitchell v. Donovan, No. 726

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM; BLACK; BLACKMUN; DOUGLAS
Citation398 U.S. 427,90 S.Ct. 1763,26 L.Ed.2d 378
PartiesCharlene MITCHELL et al., Appellants, v. Joseph L. DONOVAN, etc., et al
Decision Date15 June 1970
Docket NumberNo. 726

398 U.S. 427
90 S.Ct. 1763
26 L.Ed.2d 378
Charlene MITCHELL et al., Appellants,

v.

Joseph L. DONOVAN, etc., et al.

No. 726.
Argued April 21, 1970.
Decided June 15, 1970.

Lynn S. Castner, Minneapolis, Minn., for appellants.

Richard H. Kyle, St. Paul, Minn., for appellees.

PER CURIAM.

The appellants are the 1968 Communist Party candidates for President and Vice President of the United States, various Minnesota voters who alleged a desire

Page 428

to vote for these candidates, and the Communist Parties of the United States and of Minnesota. The appellant candidates obtained petitions containing the requisite number of names and asked the Secretary of State of Minnesota to place them on the ballot for the 1968 election. The Secretary denied the request, relying upon an opinion by the Attorney General of the State to the effect that placing Communist Party candidates on the ballot would violate the Federal Communist Control Act of 1954, 68 Stat. 775, 50 U.S.C. §§ 841, 842, which declares that the Communist Party 'should be outlawed,' and purports to strip it of all 'rights, privileges, and immunities attendant upon legal bodies created under the jurisdiction of the laws of the United States or any political subdivision thereof, * * *'

The appellants brought an action in the the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota seeking a declaration that the Communist Control Act was constitutionally invalid and praying for a temporary restraining order and permanent injunction requiring the Secretary to include the names of the appellant candidates on the November 1968 ballot. Because of the appellants' request for injunctive relief based upon a claim that a federal statute was unconstitutional, a three-judge District Court was impaneled pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2282. The three-judge court noted that time was short before the election; that the equities favored the appellants; that the United States had taken the position in an amicus brief that the Communist Control Act did not bar the placement of Communist Party candidates upon the ballot; and that if the Act did apply in the manner asserted by the State, there would be 'grave doubts' as to its constitutionality. Accordingly, without deciding the merits of the appellants' claims, the

Page 429

court ordered that the names of the appellant candidates be placed on the November 1968 ballot. 290 F.Supp. 642. The candidates received the votes of 415 Minnesotans in that election.

After the election, the appellants moved to amend the complaint, alleging that the Communist Party intended to run candidates in future elections in Minnesota and, on information and belief, that Minnesota would adhere to its position that the Communist Control Act barred placing these candidates on the ballot. The District Court allowed the amendment of the complaint. It held that the prayer for injunctive relief, which referred only to the 1968 election and requested no injunction as to future conduct, had been rendered moot by the passing of that election. As to the prayer for a declaratory judgment striking down the Communist Control Act, the court found no present case or controversy. In the court's view it was not sufficiently certain that the Communist Party would run candidates in the future or that Minnesota would adhere to its construction of the federal statute, to take the case out of the realm of the hypothetical. It therefore dismissed the complaint. 300 F.Supp. 1145.

The appellants brought a direct appeal to this Court under 28 U.S.C. § 1253, which provides:

'Except as otherwise provided by law, any party may appeal to the Supreme Court from an order granting or denying, after notice and hearing, an interlocutory or permanent injunction in any civil action, suit or proceeding required by any Act of Congress to be heard and determined by a district court of three judges.'

The appellees moved to dismiss the appeal on the ground that the order complained of was not one 'grant-

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ing or denying * * * an interlocutory or permanent injunction.' We noted probable jurisdiction, 396 U.S. 1000, 90 S.Ct. 566, 24 L.Ed.2d 422. The appellees have persisted in their claim that the Court lacks jurisdiction to consider this appeal, and after hearing oral argument we have concluded that they are right.

The order appealed...

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94 practice notes
  • Women's Liberation Union of Rhode Island, Inc. v. Israel, Civ. A. No. 74-139.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Rhode Island
    • July 23, 1974
    ...U.S.C. § 2281, a single judge has the jurisdiction to decide an action where only a declaratory judgment is sought. Mitchell v. Donovan, 398 U.S. 427, 430-431, 90 S.Ct. 1763, 26 L.Ed.2d 378 (1970); Doe v. Israel, 358 F.Supp. 1193 (D.R.I.1973), aff'd 482 F.2d 156 (1st Cir. 1973); Steffel v. ......
  • Klim v. Jones, Civ. A. No. 52332.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Northern District of California
    • July 17, 1970
    ...of that statute are met. Phillips v. United States, 312 U.S. 246, 61 S.Ct. 480, 85 L.Ed. 800 (1941). See also Mitchell v. Donovan, 398 U.S. 427, 90 S.Ct. 1763, 26 L.Ed.2d 378 (1970). One of the requirements of Section 2281 is that the injunction sought thereunder operates to restrain a stat......
  • Thoms v. Heffernan, No. 98
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • January 8, 1973
    ...court's decision would, in effect, be a declaratory judgment on the constitutionality of the state statute.1 See Mitchell v. Donovan, 398 U.S. 427, 90 S.Ct. 1763, 26 L.Ed.2d 378 (1970); see also Gunn v. University Committee to End the War in Vietnam, 399 U.S. 383, 391, 90 S.Ct. 2013, 26 L.E......
  • Seergy v. Kings County Republican County Committee, No. 733-735
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • April 20, 1972
    ...thereafter to have sought only a declaratory judgment,5 which would not require the convening of a three-judge court, Mitchell v. Donovan, 398 U.S. 427, 430-431, 90 S.Ct. 1763, 26 L.Ed.2d 378 (1970); Kennedy v. Mendoza-Martinez, 372 U.S. 144, 154-155, 83 S.Ct. 554, 9 L.Ed.2d 644 (1963), eve......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
94 cases
  • Women's Liberation Union of Rhode Island, Inc. v. Israel, Civ. A. No. 74-139.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Rhode Island
    • July 23, 1974
    ...U.S.C. § 2281, a single judge has the jurisdiction to decide an action where only a declaratory judgment is sought. Mitchell v. Donovan, 398 U.S. 427, 430-431, 90 S.Ct. 1763, 26 L.Ed.2d 378 (1970); Doe v. Israel, 358 F.Supp. 1193 (D.R.I.1973), aff'd 482 F.2d 156 (1st Cir. 1973); Steffel v. ......
  • Klim v. Jones, Civ. A. No. 52332.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Northern District of California
    • July 17, 1970
    ...of that statute are met. Phillips v. United States, 312 U.S. 246, 61 S.Ct. 480, 85 L.Ed. 800 (1941). See also Mitchell v. Donovan, 398 U.S. 427, 90 S.Ct. 1763, 26 L.Ed.2d 378 (1970). One of the requirements of Section 2281 is that the injunction sought thereunder operates to restrain a stat......
  • Thoms v. Heffernan, No. 98
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • January 8, 1973
    ...court's decision would, in effect, be a declaratory judgment on the constitutionality of the state statute.1 See Mitchell v. Donovan, 398 U.S. 427, 90 S.Ct. 1763, 26 L.Ed.2d 378 (1970); see also Gunn v. University Committee to End the War in Vietnam, 399 U.S. 383, 391, 90 S.Ct. 2013, 26 L.E......
  • Seergy v. Kings County Republican County Committee, No. 733-735
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • April 20, 1972
    ...thereafter to have sought only a declaratory judgment,5 which would not require the convening of a three-judge court, Mitchell v. Donovan, 398 U.S. 427, 430-431, 90 S.Ct. 1763, 26 L.Ed.2d 378 (1970); Kennedy v. Mendoza-Martinez, 372 U.S. 144, 154-155, 83 S.Ct. 554, 9 L.Ed.2d 644 (1963), eve......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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