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ANDERSON V. MARTIN, 375 U. S. 399 (1964)

U.S. Supreme Court

Anderson v. Martin, 375 U.S. 399 (1964)

Anderson v. Martin

No. 51

Argued November 20-21, 1963

Decided January 13, 1964

375 U.S. 399


Appellants, residents of a Louisiana parish, are Negroes. Both sought election to the parish School Board in the 1962 Democratic Party primary election. Prior to the election, they filed this suit in federal court to enjoin the enforcement of Louisiana Revised Statutes §18:1174.1, which requires that, in all primary, general or special elections, the nomination papers and ballots shall designate the race of the candidates. A three-judge District Court upheld the constitutionality of the statute.

Held: the compulsory designation by Louisiana of the race of the candidate on the ballot operates as a discrimination against appellants, and is violative of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Federal Constitution. Pp. 375 U. S. 402-404.

(a) The vice of the statute lies in the placing of the power of the State behind a racial classification that induces racial prejudice at the polls. P. 375 U. S. 402.

(b) The challenged provision of the statute cannot be deemed to be reasonably designed to meet legitimate governmental interests in informing the electorate as to candidates. P. 375 U. S. 403.

(c) The contention that the statute is nondiscriminatory because the labeling provision applies equally to Negro and white cannot be sustained. Pp. 375 U. S. 403-404.

206 F.Supp. 700 reversed.

Page 375 U. S. 400

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