SNOWDEN V. HUGHES, 321 U. S. 1 (1944)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Snowden v. Hughes, 321 U.S. 1 (1944)

Snowden v. Hughes

No. 57

Argued December 13, 1943

Decided January 17, 1944

321 U.S. 1


1. Allegations of a complaint in the federal district court, in substance that the defendants, members of a state board acting as such but in violation of state law, by their failure and refusal to certify correctly the results of a primary, deprived the complainant of nomination and election as a representative in the state assembly, held insufficient to state a cause of action under the Fourteenth Amendment or the Civil Rights Act of 1871. Pp. 321 U. S. 5, 321 U. S. 13.

2. The privileges and immunities clause of the Fourteenth Amendment does not protect rights derived solely from the relationship of the citizen and his State established by state law. P. 321 U. S. 6.

3. The right to become a candidate for state office is not a right or privilege protected by the privileges and immunities clause. P. 321 U. S. 7.

4. The unlawful denial by state action of a right to a state political office is not a denial of a right of property or of liberty secured by the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. P. 321 U. S. 7.

5. The action of the state board, though it be regarded as state action, did not deny the equal protection of the laws in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. P. 321 U. S. 7.

(a) Where a statute requires official action discriminating between a successful and an unsuccessful candidate, the required action is not a denial of equal protection, since the distinction between

Page 321 U. S. 2

the successful and the unsuccessful candidate is based on a permissible classification. P. 321 U. S. 8.

(b) The unlawful administration of a state statute fair on its face, resulting in its unequal application to those entitled to be treated alike, is not a denial of equal protection unless there is shown to be present an element of intentional or purposeful discrimination. P. 321 U. S. 8.

(c) The illegality under state law of the action taken neither adds to nor subtracts from its validity under the Fourteenth Amendment. P. 321 U. S. 11.

6. Whether the action of the state board in this case was state action within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment is not decided. P. 321 U. S. 13.

132 F.2d 476 affirmed.

Certiorari, 319 U.S. 738, to review the affirmance of a judgment dismissing the complaint in a suit to recover damages for infringement of civil rights.

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