Kramer v. Union Free School District No. 15 Page 3

Kramer v. Union Free School District No. 15 general information

Media for Kramer v. Union Free School District No. 15

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 16, 1969 in Kramer v. Union Free School District No. 15

Hugo L. Black:

I mean in these elections.

Osmond K. Fraenkel:

No, no.

In addition to these restrictions under electorate, the elector has to be a qualified voter in the state.

Now, as I was saying, I would suppose that the interest of every resident of the community is clear.

What interest is it that the state is supposed to reserve by this restriction?

It's rather difficult from the papers to determine what that is?

In one place, it is stated that this is essential -- an essential restriction in order to prevent political maneuvering but why or how this is so is difficult to understand.

Why in the districts in the country, political maneuvering is more a suspect than in cities having under a 125,000 persons.

Is it made clear anywhere and in those cities everybody who otherwise qualified can vote?

Byron R. White:

But we're not talking about a right to vote -- it's provided by a federal law, are we?

Osmond K. Fraenkel:

No, we're dealing here only with the question of equal protection, whether this is an improper discrimination by the state.

We're not dealing of course with voting in federal for federal officials.

Byron R. White:

Or any constitutional --

Osmond K. Fraenkel:

Or any constitutional issue.

We're dealing with a matter that is local in the sense that school elections are not -- don't deal with all the subjects which a community is interested in.

But nevertheless in my view, the matter of education is of such paramount importance that all members of the community have an interest in and should be allowed to vote borrowing some specific reason.

Byron R. White:

You assume the burden here I take it, of approving an invidious discrimination of the plaintiff.

Osmond K. Fraenkel:

Yes and no.

Of course, always, the person who raises an equal protection point assumes that burden.

On the other hand, once he has shown that there is a discrimination and that he has a strong interest, then I submit, it is the burden of the state to come forward to show a justification for that discrimination.

Byron R. White:

Do you have any cases for that except in areas where a certain particular interests are involved?

Osmond K. Fraenkel:

Well, of course, the most recent application of it was in the Williams-Rhodes case.

Well, I think it's true that that dealt with federal electors --

Byron R. White:

That's right.

Osmond K. Fraenkel:

And for that reason, this Court may have -- I may be permitted to say so stretch a little.

Nevertheless, it seems to me that the basic principle enunciated that where a discrimination has been shown there is --

Byron R. White:

That is a normal equal protection law, is it?

Osmond K. Fraenkel:

Well, the normal equal protection law deals mostly with taxation and routine things of that sort.

I submit that when it deals with so fundamentally thing as voting as the poll tax case of course is another illustration.

Now, it's --