FORTSON V. MORRIS, 385 U. S. 231 (1966)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Fortson v. Morris, 385 U.S. 231 (1966)

Fortson v. Morris

No. 800

Argued December 5, 1966

Decided December 12, 1966

385 U.S. 231


Georgia's Constitution since 1824 has provided that a majority of the state legislature shall select the Governor from the two candidates with the highest number of votes in a general election where no gubernatorial candidate received a majority vote, a situation which arose in the November 8, 1966, general election. On equal protection grounds, a three-judge District Court invalidated the provision.

Held: Georgia's provision for selecting a Governor is not invalid under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Pp. 385 U. S. 233-236.

(a) A State can permit its legislative body to elect its Governor, there being no federal constitutional provision prescribing the method a State must use to select its Governor. Gray v. Sanders, 372 U. S. 368, distinguished. Pp. 385 U. S. 233-234.

(b) The Georgia Legislature is not disqualified for malapportionment to elect a Governor, since, under Toombs v. Fortson, 384 U. S. 210, this Court held that it could function until May 1, 1968. P. 385 U. S. 235.

(c) The obligation under an oath taken by Democratic members of the legislature to support party candidates ended with the last general election, which is over. Pp. 385 U. S. 235-236.

262 F.Supp. 93, reversed.

Page 385 U. S. 232

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