Tullier v. Giordano, No. 17450.

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtRIVES, CAMERON and WISDOM, Circuit
Citation265 F.2d 1
Docket NumberNo. 17450.
Decision Date24 March 1959
PartiesAlbert J. TULLIER, Sr., Appellant, v. Frank GIORDANO, Registrar of Voters for the Parish of Plaquemines, Appellee.

265 F.2d 1 (1959)

Albert J. TULLIER, Sr., Appellant,
v.
Frank GIORDANO, Registrar of Voters for the Parish of Plaquemines, Appellee.

No. 17450.

United States Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit.

March 24, 1959.


265 F.2d 2

Jacob H. Morrison, New Orleans, La., for appellant.

Sidney W. Provensal, Jr., New Orleans, La., for appellee.

Before RIVES, CAMERON and WISDOM, Circuit Judges.

RIVES, Circuit Judge.

Appellant sued appellee for injunctive relief and money damages, claiming that he had a right to register as a voter in the Parish of Plaquemines, Louisiana, and that such right had been denied to him by the appellee. The first question is whether the district court had jurisdiction.

The complaint, after averring that the defendant is the Registrar of Voters for Plaquemines Parish and detailing the plaintiff's qualifications as a voter in that Parish, alleges that the defendant denied registration to the plaintiff and to a considerable number of other named persons upon the applicant's failure or refusal to meet a requirement by the defendant that the applicant interpret in writing certain selected clauses or sections of the Constitution of Louisiana and of the Constitution of the United States. The complaint alleges that the defendant registrar "has never hesitated to register without any constitutional interpretations or readings those voters of his own political faction, party or alignment"; that the defendant is "systematically discriminating against all voters hostile to him or nonsympathetic with his political faction"; that a deputy registrar informed plaintiff "that he would be permitted to register but must first divulge his political preferences, if he aligned himself with the political faction of defendant, he would be permitted to register. This complainant refused to do"; and further "that the above described practices and actions of defendant in discriminating against him while permitting others to register who were unable to pass any constitutional test has had the effect of depriving him of his right to vote not only for candidates in primary elections but also in federal elections, i. e., for Congress, United States Senator and President."

The district court concluded: "This Court has jurisdiction over the parties and the subject matter. U. S. Constitution, Amend. 14; Title 42, U.S.C. § 1983; United States v. Classic, 313 U.S. 299, 61 S.Ct. 1031 85 L.Ed. 1368; U.S.Const. Art. 1, Sec. 2." We agree.

The Congress has granted to the district courts original jurisdiction of a civil action to redress the deprivation under color of any State law of any rights, privileges or immunities secured by the Constitution of the United States.1

Under our federal system the qualification of voters is left to the several states subject to some limitations imposed by the United States Constitution. As originally adopted, the Constitution contained few provisions on the subject of voting rights. Article I, Section 2, Clause 1 provided:

"The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature."

Section 4, Clause 1 of that Article provided:

"The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of choosing Senators."
265 F.2d 3

Touching the elective franchise possibly in an indirect or remote way was Article II, Section 1, Clause 3, later amended by the Twelfth Amendment, prescribing the procedure for electing the President and Vice President.

Amendments since the War Between the States have considerably extended the scope of federal power to regulate the elective franchise. The Fifteenth Amendment has no application to this case, since the complaint shows that the plaintiff is a white man. Nor is the Nineteenth, or Woman Suffrage, Amendment involved. The Seventeenth Amendment provides for the direct election of Senators by electors in each State having the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.

That the complaint does state a case within the jurisdiction of the district court to redress the deprivation of rights, privileges or immunities secured by the Constitution of the United States does not require an elaborate discussion of the rights of suffrage and of the extent to which those rights are secured by the Constitution of the United States. Brief quotations from two leading cases will suffice to demonstrate that the complaint states a case within the jurisdiction of the district court.

"* * * While, in a loose sense, the right to vote for representatives in Congress is sometimes spoken of as a right derived from the states, see, Minor v. Happersett, 21 Wall. 162, 170, 22 L.Ed. 627; United States v. Reese, 92 U.S. 214, 217, 218, 23 L.Ed. 563; McPherson v. Blacker, 146 U.S. 1, 38-39, 13 S.Ct. 3, 11, 12, 36 L.Ed. 869; Breedlove v. Suttles, 302 U.S. 277, 283, 58 S.Ct. 205, 207, 82 L.Ed. 252, this statement is true only in the sense that the states are authorized by the Constitution, to legislate on the subject as provided by § 2 of Art. I, to the extent that Congress has not restricted state action by the exercise of its powers to regulate elections under § 4 and its more general power under Article I, § 8, clause 18 of the
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4 practice notes
  • State of Alabama v. United States, No. 19051.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Fifth Circuit
    • June 22, 1962
    ...at 642. The finding of no discrimination in both Ventre v. Ryder, W.D.La., 1959, 176 F.Supp. 90, 97, and Tullier v. Giordano, 5 Cir., 1959, 265 F.2d 1, 4, eliminates those decisions as irrelevant. That leaves only Byrd v. Brice, W.D.La., 1952, 104 F.Supp. 442, affirmed 5 Cir., 1953, 201 F.2......
  • Cocanower v. Marston, No. Civ. 70-295 Phx.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. District of Arizona
    • September 25, 1970
    ...and the provisions granting jurisdiction to hear cases of illegal deprivation of civil rights, 28 U.S.C. § 1343. See Tullier v. Giordano, 265 F.2d 1 (5th Cir. The constitutional basis of both the right to vote for congressional candidates and of state control in such elections was discussed......
  • Ventre v. Ryder, Civ. A. No. 7473.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Western District of Louisiana
    • August 12, 1959
    ...v. Classic, 313 U.S. 299, 61 S.Ct. 1031, 85 L.Ed. 1368; Fields v. United States, 4 Cir., 228 F.2d 544; and Tullier v. Giordano, 5 Cir., 265 F.2d 1, 7 Snowden v. Hughes, 1944, 321 U.S. 1, 64 S.Ct. 397, 88 L.Ed. 497. 8 Following is a chronological list of the illustrative Supreme Court cases:......
  • Giordano v. Tullier, No. 236
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Louisiana (US)
    • March 12, 1962
    ...constitutional rights. Tullier appealed and the appellate court affirmed the decision of the trial judge on March 24, 1959. (See 5 Cir., 265 F.2d 1). Appellant's first assignment of error is that the District Judge erred in overruling his exception of prescription based on LSA-C.C. arts. 35......
4 cases
  • State of Alabama v. United States, No. 19051.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Fifth Circuit
    • June 22, 1962
    ...at 642. The finding of no discrimination in both Ventre v. Ryder, W.D.La., 1959, 176 F.Supp. 90, 97, and Tullier v. Giordano, 5 Cir., 1959, 265 F.2d 1, 4, eliminates those decisions as irrelevant. That leaves only Byrd v. Brice, W.D.La., 1952, 104 F.Supp. 442, affirmed 5 Cir., 1953, 201 F.2......
  • Cocanower v. Marston, No. Civ. 70-295 Phx.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. District of Arizona
    • September 25, 1970
    ...and the provisions granting jurisdiction to hear cases of illegal deprivation of civil rights, 28 U.S.C. § 1343. See Tullier v. Giordano, 265 F.2d 1 (5th Cir. The constitutional basis of both the right to vote for congressional candidates and of state control in such elections was discussed......
  • Ventre v. Ryder, Civ. A. No. 7473.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Western District of Louisiana
    • August 12, 1959
    ...v. Classic, 313 U.S. 299, 61 S.Ct. 1031, 85 L.Ed. 1368; Fields v. United States, 4 Cir., 228 F.2d 544; and Tullier v. Giordano, 5 Cir., 265 F.2d 1, 7 Snowden v. Hughes, 1944, 321 U.S. 1, 64 S.Ct. 397, 88 L.Ed. 497. 8 Following is a chronological list of the illustrative Supreme Court cases:......
  • Giordano v. Tullier, No. 236
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Louisiana (US)
    • March 12, 1962
    ...constitutional rights. Tullier appealed and the appellate court affirmed the decision of the trial judge on March 24, 1959. (See 5 Cir., 265 F.2d 1). Appellant's first assignment of error is that the District Judge erred in overruling his exception of prescription based on LSA-C.C. arts. 35......

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