Nixon v. Condon
286 U.S. 73 (1932)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Nixon v. Condon, 286 U.S. 73 (1932)

Nixon v. Condon

No. 265

Argued January 7, 1932

Reargued March 15, 1932

Decided May 2, 1932

286 U.S. 73

Syllabus

A statute of Texas provided:

"every political party in the State through its State Executive Committee shall have the power to prescribe the qualifications of its own members and shall in its own way determine who shall be qualified to vote or otherwise participate in such political party. . . ."

Acting under this statute, and not under any authorization from the convention of their party, the Executive Committee of the Democratic Party in Texas adopted a resolution that only white Democrats should participate in the primary elections, thereby excluding Negroes.

Held:

1. Whatever inherent power a state political party has to determine the qualifications of its members resides in the party convention, and not in any committee. P. 286 U. S. 84.

2. The power exercised by the Executive Committee in this instance was not the power of the party as a voluntary organization, but came from the statute. P. 286 U. S. 85.

3. The committee's action was therefore state action within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment. P. 286 U. S. 88.

4. The resulting discrimination violates that Amendment. P. 286 U. S. 89.

5. Whether, in given circumstances, parties or their committees are agencies of Government within the Fourteenth or the Fifteenth

Page 286 U. S. 74

Amendment is a question which this Court must determine for itself. P. 286 U. S. 88.

49 F.2d 1012 reversed.

Certiorari, 284 U.S. 601, to review the affirmance of a judgment dismissing the complaint, 34 F.2d 464, in an action for damages against judges of a primary election who refused to allow the plaintiff to vote.

Page 286 U. S. 81

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