Eu v. San Francisco County Democratic Central Comm.

RESPONDENT: San Francisco County Democratic Central Comm.
LOCATION: Kansas City Missouri School District

DOCKET NO.: 87-1269
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1988-1990)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

CITATION: 489 US 214 (1989)
ARGUED: Dec 05, 1988
DECIDED: Feb 22, 1989

Geoffrey Lloyd Graybill - on behalf of the Appellants
James G. Brosnahan - on behalf of the Appellees

Facts of the case


Media for Eu v. San Francisco County Democratic Central Comm.

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - December 05, 1988 in Eu v. San Francisco County Democratic Central Comm.

I know that.

I know that's your position, but I just wanted to be clear.

It's all four of those that you say implicate the First Amendment.

Geoffrey Lloyd Graybill:

I believe they do, Justice Brennan.

Our, our position is that the political parties... and I believe this is the primary elec... the election of party officials and the endorsed candidates of the parties are affected in the primary election, which is an integral part of the state's election process, and the importance to the state of assuring that those institutions that participate, do participate in a democratic manner and enable the grass roots to make direct input without being restricted by party organizations, machines, bosses, and smoke-filled rooms is a very deep-seated tradition in California.

It's one that has been expressed by the members of the parties themselves.

That is a First Amendment right.

xxx... parties to endorse.

Any party that doesn't want to endorse just won't endorse.

If that's good for the party and good for the pubic interest, they just won't endorse.

Geoffrey Lloyd Graybill:

Well, Justice White, I think we have to look at who decides for the party, the members of the party or some organization that, or group, special interest, that manages to collect 32 votes on the executive board and not allow that matter to come up for a vote of the full committee.

Well, somebody else can organize a vote of 45 members and overrule that.

Geoffrey Lloyd Graybill:

I think in the circumstances of this case, Your Honor, the opportunity was in January of this year, and the convention occurred in March.

There's, as I understand it, under the rules there would be no opportunity for anybody to override in those circumstances.

What should happen is that these by-laws would go to the legislature and they would be evaluated by members of the party who would determine whether it does in fact reflect--

I know, but all, all the 32 members managed to get done is that they said that there may be endorsements.

It didn't force anybody to endorse.

No county commission has to endorse.

The State Committee doesn't have to endorse.

There's just a permission now, is that it?

Geoffrey Lloyd Graybill:

--Well, Your Honor, I believe that there was a system for making these endorsements that the party chair made sure went forward.

Well, a system, but did every, did every county central committee have to make endorsements under that by-law?

They didn't need to?

Geoffrey Lloyd Graybill:

Justice White, they're not permitted to as county central committees, per se.

There is a regional system, so the Plaintiffs before this Court--

Well, regional then.

Geoffrey Lloyd Graybill:

--still do not have the permission of their parties to make endorsements.

They are precluded, and if we're to take the action of the parties, the action of the State Central Committees as being reflective of the will of the party, then these plaintiffs have not shown a substantial infringement on their rights by the restriction of this statute because they are--

If those party central committees had voted differently, they would have been voting to violate the law, right?

So you're saying that the fact that the parties have not put into effect a mechanism that violates the law proves that the parties don't want it, is that what you're saying?