KRAMER V. UNION FREE SCH. DIST. NO. 15, 395 U. S. 621 (1969)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Kramer v. Union Free Sch. Dist. No. 15, 395 U.S. 621 (1969)

Kramer v. Union Free School District No. 15

No. 258

Argued January 16, 1969

Decided June 16, 1969

395 U.S. 621


Section 2012 of the New York Education Law provides that, in certain school districts residents who are otherwise eligible to vote in state and federal elections may vote in the school district elections only if they own or lease taxable realty in the district or are parents or custodians of children enrolled in the local public schools. Appellant, a bachelor who neither owns nor leases taxable real property, challenged the constitutionality of the section. A three-judge district court ruled § 2012 constitutional.

Held: Section 2012 violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Pp. 395 U. S. 625-633.

(a) Where a state statute grants the right to vote to some bona fide residents of requisite age and citizenship and denies the franchise to others, it must be determined whether the exclusions are necessary to promote a compelling state interest. Pp. 395 U. S. 625-630.

(b) Assuming, arguendo, that New York legitimately might limit the franchise in these school district elections to those "primarily interested in school affairs," the § 2012 classifications do not accomplish this purpose with sufficient precision to justify denying the franchise to appellant and members of his class, since the classifications include many persons at best only remotely interested in school affairs, and exclude others directly interested. Pp. 395 U. S. 630-633.

282 F.Supp. 70, reversed and remanded.

Page 395 U. S. 622

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