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U.S. Supreme Court

Socialist Labor Party v. Gilligan, 406 U.S. 583 (1972)

Socialist Labor Party v. Gilligan

No. 70-21

Argued march 23, 1972

Decided May 30, 1972

406 U.S. 583


Appellant political party, its officers, and members, attacked the constitutionality of revisions of the Ohio election code made following this Court's decision in Socialist Labor Party v. Rhodes, 393 U. S. 23, and a provision that a political party execute a loyalty affidavit under oath in order to obtain a ballot position. The District Court, deciding the case on cross-motions for summary judgment on the basis of the pleadings and supporting affidavits, upheld all appellants' challenges except that involving the oath provision. All parties appealed. A revision of the election code made after this Court noted probable jurisdiction mooted all but the oath issue. Appellants, who did not attack the oath provision in Rhodes and who have been on the ballot and presumably have complied with that provision since its adoption in 1941, contend that it violates the First Amendment, is impermissibly vague, does not comport with due process, and, since it applies to them and not the two major political parties, violates equal protection.

Held: The record and pleadings on the one issue not mooted by the supervening legislation (an issue that received scant attention in appellants' complaint, and none in the affidavits supporting the cross-motions for summary judgment) are inadequate for resolution of the constitutional questions presented, and, in view of the abstract and speculative posture of the case, the appeal must therefore be dismissed. Rescue Army v. Municipal Court, 331 U. S. 549. Pp. 406 U. S. 585-589.

318 F.Supp. 1262, appeal dismissed.

REHNQUIST, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BURGER, C.J.,and STEWART, WHITE, BLACKMUN, and POWELL, JJ., joined. DOUGLAS, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which BRENNAN and MARSHALL, JJ., joined, post, p. 406 U. S. 589.

Page 406 U. S. 584

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