Grovey v. Townsend,
295 U.S. 45 (1935)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Grovey v. Townsend, 295 U.S. 45 (1935)

Grovey v. Townsend

No. 563

Argued March 11, 1935

Decided April 1, 1935

295 U.S. 45


1. In the light of principles announced by the highest court of Texas relative to the rights and privileges of political parties under the laws of that State, the denial of a ballot to a negro for voting in a primary election, pursuant to a resolution adopted by the state convention restricting membership in the party to white persons cannot be deemed state action inhibited by the Fourteenth or Fifteenth Amendment. P. 295 U. S. 49.

2. Analysis of the decisions of the Supreme Court of Texas in the cases of Bell v. Hill and Love v. Wilcox lends no support to the claim that §§ 2 and 27 of the Bill of Rights of Texas violate the Federal Constitution. P. 295 U. S. 53.

3. The provisions of Art. 3167 of the Revised Civil Statutes of Texas, 1925, prescribing the times when state conventions of political parties are to be held and regulating the method of choosing delegates, do not warrant the conclusion that the state convention is a mere creature of the State. P. 295 U. S. 53.

4. That, in Texas, nomination by the Democratic party is equivalent to election, and exclusion from the primary virtually disfranchises the voter, does not, without more, make out a forbidden discrimination in this case. P. 295 U. S. 54.

5. That the Democratic national organization has not declared a policy to exclude negroes from membership gives no support to

Page 295 U. S. 46

the claim of one who was thus excluded pursuant to a resolution of a state convention of the party in Texas that he was discriminated against by the State in violation of the Federal Constitution. P. 295 U. S. 55.


Certiorari, 294 U.S. 699, to review a judgment dismissing an action for ten dollars damages, brought by Grovey, in a justice's court, against Townsend, a county clerk, based on the latter's refusal to issue to the former an absentee ballot for voting in a primary election. Under the state law, the judgment, because of the small amount involved, was not reviewable in any higher court of the State.

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