Lane v. Wilson
Annotate this Case
307 U.S. 268 (1939)
U.S. Supreme Court
Lane v. Wilson, 307 U.S. 268 (1939)
Lane v. Wilson
Argued March 3, 1939
Decided May 22, 1939
307 U.S. 268
1. A negro who is denied by state registration officials the right of registration, prerequisite to the right to vote, under color of a state registration statute which, in violation of the Fifteenth Amendment, works discrimination against the colored race, has a right of action in the federal court for damages against such officials under R.S.1979; 8 U.S.C. § 43. Giles v. Harris, 189 U. S. 475, distinguished. P. 307 U. S. 274.
2. This resort to the federal court may be had without first exhausting the judicial (distinguished from administrative) remedies of the state courts. P. 307 U. S. 274.
3. Oklahoma statutes made registration prerequisite to voting, and provided generally that all citizens qualified to vote in 1916 who failed to register between April 30 and May 11, 1916, should be perpetually disfranchised, excepting those who voted in 1914. The effect was that white people who were on the lists in 1914 in virtue of the provision of the Oklahoma Constitution called the "Grandfather Clause" which this Court in 1915 adjudged unconstitutional, Guinn v. United States, 238 U. S. 347, were entitled to vote; whereas colored people kept from registering and voting by that clause would remain forever disfranchised unless they applied for registration during the limited period of not more than 12 days. Held repugnant to the Fifteenth Amendment. P. 307 U. S. 275.
98 F.2d 980, reversed.
CERTIORARI, 305 U.S. 591, to review the affirmance of a judgment, on a verdict directed for defendants in an action for damages, under R.S.1979.