Hadley v. Junior College District of Metropolitan Kansas City

RESPONDENT: Junior College District of Metropolitan Kansas City
LOCATION: 17th Judicial Circuit Green County Alabama Jury Commission

DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1969-1970)

CITATION: 397 US 50 (1970)
ARGUED: Nov 10, 1969
DECIDED: Feb 25, 1970

Facts of the case


Media for Hadley v. Junior College District of Metropolitan Kansas City

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 10, 1969 in Hadley v. Junior College District of Metropolitan Kansas City

Warren E. Burger:

Number 37, Hadley against the Junior College District.

We'll wait for two minutes here Mr. Achtenberg.

Mr. Achtenberg you may proceed.

Irving Achtenberg:

Mr. Chief Justice and may it please the Court.

This is a voting rights case.

This case originated in the trial court in Missouri by a petition filed by residents in a junior college district to a state junior college district in two counts.

The first count, the plaintiffs sought to question the right of the trustees of the junior college to locate a college site in a suburban area rather than locating it closer to the center of population of the community.

In the second count and the only count which is before this Court, the plaintiffs raised the question of the constitutional permissibility of the Missouri statutory formula for selection of junior college trustees.

The trial court dismissed most counts for failure to state a cause of action; plaintiffs dismissed their count with regard to site location and took the appeal to the Missouri Supreme Court on the constitutional question raised as to trustee selection.

The Missouri Supreme Court sustained the trial court citing the Sailors case of this Court as support for its position in distinguishing the case from the Avery case decided by this Court.

The plaintiffs have appealed to this Court.

The issue is a relatively simple one and it is thus the “one man, one vote” doctrine an application of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prevent or is it violated by the Missouri peculiar statutory provision for the selection of state junior college trustees from election districts within the junior college district.

If I may, I think the issue might be broken into two sub-issues.

First of all, does the “one man, one vote” doctrine apply to school districts such as the one here.

Secondly, if as the appellants met the doctrine does apply, then thus the Missouri statutory provision constitute invidious discrimination and is it violative of the principle.

The appellants believe that that -- believe that the doctrine does apply and we believe that the Missouri statutory provisions not only permit but in fact compel by statutory formula that there'd be invidious discrimination by residents of voters and that that discrimination is directed in only one direction and favors the suburban or the small component school district voters as against the voters in the large central city district.

The facts are presented or rather the facts present the issue with almost (Inaudible) simplicity.

Under Missouri statutes, a junior college district may be formed by the voters of a group of adjacent school districts simply by their majority vote.

They may form a junior college, a state junior college district which then has as its boundaries the outer boundaries of the component school districts.

Now at this point, the school districts as such cease to have any role to play in the functioning of the junior college district.

By the formula, they simply become election districts thereafter for the election of junior college districts and of course the junior college boundaries are co-terminus with the boundaries of the school districts.

Potter Stewart:

Mr. Achtenberg who takes the lead in the formation of the coalition of these school districts in order to form a junior college district, how does that work?

Irving Achtenberg:

Well, I suppose Mr. Justice that it occurs at most citizen action occurs, I suppose groups get together and talk to their legislators or --

Potter Stewart:

The legislators don't have anything to do with it.

Irving Achtenberg:

-- or rather in this case a petition --

Potter Stewart:

The legislators as I understand it don't have anything to do with it, would it now that they have passed this authorizing law, isn't it correct?

Irving Achtenberg:

That's correct, yes sir.

The -- it's by a petition and then by a vote of the people.

Potter Stewart:

Petition of a certain X percentage of all the people that put up -- put the issue on the ballot, is that it?

Irving Achtenberg:

That's correct, yes sir.