HADNOTT v. AMOS

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
647
Appellant 
Sallie M. Hadnott, et al.
Appellee 
Mabel S. Amos, et al.
Advocates
(for the appellant)
(Special Assistant Attorney General of Alabama, for the appellees)
(for the United States as amicus curiae urging reversal)
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Facts of the Case 

The National Democratic Party of Alabama (NDPA) sought to place the names of minority candidates on the ballot for local and state-wide offices. Alabama election officials denied the NDPA request under the Alabama Corrupt Practices Act. The NDPA then brought suit in a special three-judge U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama claiming constitutional violations. NDPA lost and appealed directly to the Supreme Court.

Initially, the Court heard arguments on October 18 in support of a temporary restraining order which it had granted on October 14. The day after oral argument, the Court granted the order and subsequently addressed the merits of the controversy on March 25.

Question 

Does the application of the Alabama Corrupt Practices Act (1) violate the Fifteenth Amendment provides guaranteeing the right to vote and (2) violate the First Amendment's right to band together to advance political beliefs?

Conclusion 
Decision: 6 votes for Hadnott, 2 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Equal Protection

Yes and yes. In an opinion authored by Justice William O. Douglas, the Court acknowledged that "the regulation of corrupt practices in state and federal elections is an important governmental function, [but] we refuse to accept a reading of an Act which gives such a loose meaning to words and such discretionary authority to election officials as to cause Fifteenth and First Amendment rights to be subject to disparate treatment."

Justice Byron R. White, joined by Justice Potter Stewart, dissented in part, arguing that the district court should have had the opportunity to rule on the constitutionality of the Corrupt Practices Act.

Justice Hugo L. Black took no part in the consideration or decision in this case.

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HADNOTT v. AMOS. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 31 August 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1960-1969/1968/1968_647>.
HADNOTT v. AMOS, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1960-1969/1968/1968_647 (last visited August 31, 2014).
"HADNOTT v. AMOS," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed August 31, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1960-1969/1968/1968_647.