Applicant, who was denied a ballot place as a congressional
candidate in the September 8, 1970, primary election in Florida
because of his refusal to pay the filing fee required by state law,
has applied for injunctive relief against a three-judge Federal
District Court judgment rejecting his contentions that the law is
unconstitutional. Since the equities of granting the requested
relief favor the applicant, Florida is directed to have his name
placed on the ballot without payment of the filing fee.
See: 315 F.
MR. JUSTICE BLACK, Circuit Justice.
Mr. William v. Fowler made a timely application to the Florida
Secretary of State to become a candidate for the United States
House of Representatives and was denied a place on the ballot
because he refused to pay the $2,125 filing fee required by state
statutes, Florida Stat.Ann. §§ 99.021 and 99.092. The applicant
challenged the constitutionality of these Florida laws on the
ground that, since a Congressman is a federal officer, a State
cannot impose such a fee as a condition for candidacy. The
applicant also asserted that the fee requirement was a denial of
equal protection of the laws. A three-judge Federal District Court
in the Middle District of Florida rejected these contentions.
] The State claims
the right to impose such a fee under Art. 1, § 4, cl. 1, of the
United States Constitution, which provides:
"The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators
and Representatives, shall be
Page 400 U. S. 1206
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 chusing Senators."
Florida asserts that, since Congress has not exercised its power
to "make or alter" filing regulations for conducting congressional
elections, the State retains the power to impose the fee in
The case raises questions which make it impossible for me to
predict with certainty what the majority of this Court would
decide. [Footnote 2
] The full
Court in all likelihood will not meet until October, after the
primary on September 8, 1970. Under these circumstances, my
decision on this application could settle this controversy on a
basis which the Court might not later accept. The record presents
no facts that would show an imposition of irreparable damage upon
the State should it be required to place the applicant's name on
the ballot, and should the law later be upheld by this Court, the
State might then collect the fee from the candidate. Furthermore,
even if the law is held valid after the applicant's name has been
submitted to the voters, neither he nor the public would have
suffered irreparable damage. If, on the other hand, the applicant
is denied an opportunity to run for office and the Florida law is
later invalidated, this candidate would have been
unconstitutionally barred from the ballot. In this situation, I
think the equities are with the applicant. [Footnote 3
The State is therefore directed to take the steps necessary to
place the applicant's name on the ballot without the payment of the
It is so ordered.
Compare Fowler v. Adams, supra, with Georgia Socialist
Workers Party v. Fortson, 315 F.
(ND Ga.1970). See also
my opinion in
Matthews v. Little, 396 U. S. 1223
my opinion in Davis v. Adams, ante,
400 U. S.