Marchioro v. Chaney

PETITIONER: Marchioro
RESPONDENT: Chaney
LOCATION: Adult Store

DOCKET NO.: 78-647
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT: Washington Supreme Court

CITATION: 442 US 191 (1979)
ARGUED: Mar 26, 1979
DECIDED: Jun 04, 1979

ADVOCATES:
Charles A. Goldmark - for appellants
Daniel P. Brink - for appellees

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Marchioro v. Chaney

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 26, 1979 in Marchioro v. Chaney

Warren E. Burger:

We'll hear arguments first this morning in Number 647, Marchioro against Chaney.

Mr. Goldmark, you may proceed whenever you're ready.

Charles A. Goldmark:

Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court.

A Washington statute Revised Code of Washington 29.42.020 regulates the State Committee of Washington's major political parties.

One requirement of this statute is that these State Committees be composed of two persons from each county in the state no more, no less and none other.

The issue presented here is whether this requirement that the State Committees be composed of two persons per county no more, no less and none other can be constitutionally applied to bar the Democratic party of Washington from establishing its State Committee composed of two persons from each county, plus one person from each legislative district in the state.

William H. Rehnquist:

Mr. Goldmark, as I understand it in the Supreme Court of Washington you also challenged the requirement that the composition of the committees be one man and one woman.

You don't renew that here?

Charles A. Goldmark:

Mr. Justice Rehnquist, that is correct we do not challenge that requirement here.

Harry A. Blackmun:

And the last amendments didn't change that sex provision.

Charles A. Goldmark:

Mr. Justice Blackmun, in my knowledge they did not.

Appellants challenge here only the two-person per county requirement and the court below ruled that this provision was severable from the remainder of the statute.

Appellants are eight members and officers of the Washington Democratic Party.

Four of them were persons elected as legislative district representatives to the Democratic State Committee and denied their seats on the basis of the challenge statute.

Appellees are the Democratic State Committee and its chairman at the time this suit was instituted.

The State of Washington was served, as required by state law, with a copy of the complaint when this litigation began and notified of the appeal for the Washington Supreme Court.

It has not appeared at any stage in this proceeding.

The Democratic State Committee is the governing body of the Washington Democratic Party.

In 1970, the Washington Supreme Court in the case of King County Republican Central Committee versus Republican State Committee interpreted the authority of State Committees regulated by RCW 29.42.020.

The court ruled there that these Party State Committees have the inherent power to govern the statewide operations of parties as political organizations subject --

William H. Rehnquist:

Between conventions.

Charles A. Goldmark:

Between, subject only to the overriding authority of the party state convention.

That is correct Mr. Justice Rehnquist they only govern between conventions.

Potter Stewart:

And they are defined and provided for by legislation enacted by the legislature of your state, are they?

Charles A. Goldmark:

Mr. Justice Stewart, that is correct.

Potter Stewart:

And how long has that been true?

Charles A. Goldmark:

I'm not aware, Your Honor.

The statute authorizes that Party State Committees to call conventions and to plan them.

It specifically precludes them from setting rules to govern the operations of the convention.

Potter Stewart:

They are creatures of statute, aren't they, the State Committee?