Lubin v. Panish,
415 U.S. 709 (1974)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Lubin v. Panish, 415 U.S. 709 (1974)

Lubin v. Panish

No. 71-6852

Argued October 9, 1973

Decided March 26, 1974

415 U.S. 709


Petitioner, an indigent, was denied nomination papers to file as a candidate for the position of County Supervisor in California because, although otherwise qualified, he was unable to pay the filing fee required of all candidates by a California statute. He brought this class action in California Superior Court for a writ of mandate against the Secretary of State and the County Registrar-Recorder, claiming that the statute, by requiring the filing fee but providing no other way of securing access to the ballot, deprived him and others similarly situated of the equal protection guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment and rights of expression and association guaranteed by the First and Fourteenth Amendments. The Superior Court denied the writ of mandate; the Court of Appeal and the California Supreme Court also denied writs.

Held: Absent reasonable alternative means of ballot access, a State may not, consistent with constitutional standards, require from an indigent candidate filing fees that he cannot pay; denying a person the right to file as a candidate solely because of an inability to pay a fixed fee, without providing any alternative means, is not reasonably necessary to the accomplishment of the State's legitimate interest of maintaining the integrity of elections. Pp. 415 U. S. 712-719.

Reversed and remanded.

BURGER, C.J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which DOUGLAS, BRENNAN, STEWART, WHITE, MARSHALL, and POWELL, JJ., joined. DOUGLAS, J., filed a concurring opinion, post, p. 415 U. S. 719. BLACKMUN, J., filed an opinion concurring in part, in which REHNQUIST, J., joined, post, p. 415 U. S. 722.

Page 415 U. S. 710

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