Kusper v. Pontikes

LOCATION: Nebraska Penal and Correctional Center (now known as Nebraska State Penitentiary)

DOCKET NO.: 71-1631
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1972-1975)

CITATION: 414 US 51 (1973)
ARGUED: Oct 09, 1973
DECIDED: Nov 19, 1973

Aldus S. Mitchell, Jr. - for appellants
Ray Jeffrey Cohen - for appellee

Facts of the case


Media for Kusper v. Pontikes

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 09, 1973 in Kusper v. Pontikes

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - November 19, 1973 in Kusper v. Pontikes

Warren E. Burger:

Thank you Mr. Justice White.:

The judgment and opinion of the Court in 71-1631, Kusper against Pontikes would be announced by Mr. Justice Stewart.

Potter Stewart:

Before I announce that opinion I think Mr. Justice Marshall has something to add.

Thurgood Marshall:

In the case I announced 671 Espinoza against Farah, Mr. Justice Douglas has filed a dissenting opinion.

Potter Stewart:

The opinion I am authorized to announce this morning is in number 71-1631, Stanley P Kusper Jr. and others, appellants against Harriet G. Pontikes, appellee in a case which is here on appeals from the United States District Court for the Northern district of Illinois.

Under a provision of the Illinois Election Code a person is prohibited from voting in a primary election of a political party, if he has voted in the primary of any other party within the preceding 23 months.

The appellee Harriet G. Pontikes is a qualified Chicago voter who voted in a Republican Primary in February of 1971.

She wanted to vote in March 1972, Democratic Primary, but was bared from doing so by this 23-months rule.

She filed a complain for the declaratory and injunctive relief in United State's District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, alleging that the Illinois law unconstitutionally abridged her freedom to associate with the political party of her choice by depriving her of the opportunity to vote in the Democratic Primary.

A statutory, a three-judge court was convened and that Court held, one judge dissenting that the 23-months rule is unconstitutional.

We noted probable jurisdiction of this appeal from that judgment.

For the reasons set out in some detail in the written opinion filed today, we conclude that this provision of Illinois Election Code unconstitutionally infringes upon the right of free political association, protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

The judgment of the District Court is accordingly affirmed.

The Chief justice concurs in the result and I am authorized to say that Mr. Justice Blackmun has filed a dissenting opinion and that Mr. Justice Rehnquist has also filed a dissenting opinion in which Mr. Justice Blackmun has joined.