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Opinion of the Court.

343 U.S.

selection of delegates to a national political convention. It was also said in Ray v. Garner concerning the voter's pledge that:

"Primarily, the pledge must be germane to party membership and party elections and, while the last clause of the pledge pertains to the national party, the party in Alabama will be a part of it by sending delegates to participate in the national convention, the Executive Committee having ordered their election and the party thereby having signified its intention to become a member of the national party. Therefore, it was within the competency of the Committee to adopt the resolution so binding the voters in the primary."5 257 Ala., at, 57 So. 2d, at 826. As is well known, political parties in the modern sense were not born with the Republic. They were created by necessity, by the need to organize the rapidly increasing

5 Such a holding integrates the state and national party. See Cannon's Democratic Manual (1948):

"The Democratic National Committee is the permanent agency authorized to act in behalf of the Party during intervals between Conventions. It is the creature of the National Convention and therefore subordinate to its control and direction. Between Conventions the Committee exercises such powers and authority as have been delegated specifically to it and is subject to the directions and instructions imposed by the Convention which created it." P. 4. "Duties and Powers of the Committee

"The duties and powers of the National Committee are derived from the Convention creating it, and while subject to variation as the Convention may provide, ordinarily include:

"8. Provision for the National Convention, involving:

"b. Authorization of call and determination within authority granted by last National Convention of representation from States, Territories and Districts; . . . ." Pp. 7-8.


Opinion of the Court.

population, scattered over our Land, so as to coordinate efforts to secure needed legislation and oppose that deemed undesirable. Compare Bryce, Modern Democracies, p. 546. The party conventions of locally chosen delegates, from the county to the national level, succeeded the caucuses of self-appointed legislators or other interested individuals. Dissatisfaction with the manipulation of conventions caused that system to be largely superseded by the direct primary. This was particularly true in the South because, with the predominance of the Democratic Party in that section, the nomination was more important than the election. There primaries are generally, as in Alabama, optional. Various tests of party allegiance for candidates in direct primaries are found in a number of states. The requirement of a pledge from the candidate participating in primaries to support the nominee is not unusual. Such a provision protects a party from in

See Penniman, supra, n. 4, cc. XIII, XVIII, especially at pp. 300, 416; Merriam and Overacker, supra, n. 3, at pp. 92-93.

7 Penniman, supra, pp. 425-426; Merriam and Overacker, supra, pp. 129-133.

8 E. g., § 4, c. 109, N. D. Laws 1907, pp. 151, 153, discussed in State ex rel. McCue v. Blaisdell, 18 N. D. 55, 118 N. W. 141. See 7 Fla. Stat. Ann. (Harrison, 1943) § 99.021 (pkt. pt.); Fla. Laws 1951, c. 26870, § 99.021, amending 7 Fla. Stat. Ann. (Harrison, 1943) § 102.29, discussed in Mairs v. Peters, 52 So. 2d 793. Cf. 3 Miss. Code Ann., 1942 (Harrison, 1943), § 3129; Ruhr v. Cowan, 146 Miss. 870, 112 So. 386. Cf. Va. Code, 1950 (Michie, 1949), §§ 24-367, 24-369. See Westerman v. Mims, 111 Tex. 29, 227 S. W. 178, discussing Art. 3096 of Tex. Rev. Stat. of 1911; cf. Love v. Wilcox, 119 Tex. 256, 28 S. W. 2d 515.

For an example of a pledge specifically directed toward primary candidates for the office of presidential elector, see the resolutions of the State Democratic Committee of Texas discussed in Carter v. Tomlinson, 149 Tex. 7, 227 S. W. 2d 795; see also Love v. Taylor, 8 S. W. 2d 795 (Tex. Civ. App.); McDonald v. Calhoun, 149 Tex. 232, 231 S. W. 2d 656; cf. Seay v. Latham, 143 Tex. 1, 182 S. W. 2d 251. See also the pledge required by the Democratic Party of

Opinion of the Court.

343 U.S.

trusion by those with adverse political principles." It was under the authority of § 347 of the Alabama Code, note 2, supra, that the State Democratic Executive Committee of Alabama adopted a resolution on January 26, 1952, requiring candidates in its primary to pledge support to the nominees of the National Convention of the Democratic Party for President and Vice-President. It is this provision in the qualifications required by the party under § 347 which the Supreme Court of Alabama held unconstitutional in this case.

The opinion of the Supreme Court of Alabama concluded that the Executive Committee requirement violated the Twelfth Amendment, note 1, supra. It said:

"We appreciate the argument that from time immemorial, the electors selected to vote in the college have voted in accordance with the wishes of the party to which they belong. But in doing so, the effective compulsion has been party loyalty. That theory has

Arkansas, discussed in Fisher v. Taylor, 210 Ark. 380, 196 S. W. 2d 217.

Similar pledges, of course, are frequently exacted of voters in the primaries. See, e. g., State ex rel. Adair v. Drexel, 74 Neb. 776, 105 N. W. 174; Morrow v. Wipf, 22 S. D. 146, 115 N. W. 1121; Ladd v. Holmes, 40 Ore. 167, 66 P. 714. See Penniman, supra, note 4, at p. 431; Merriam and Overacker, supra, note 4, at pp. 124–129.

9 See Seay v. Latham, 143 Tex. 1, 182 S. W. 2d 251. This was a Texas case that allowed the Democratic Party of Texas to withdraw its nomination of presidential electors when they announced their determination to vote against the nominees of the party as made by the National Convention. The names of others were substituted. The court said:

"A political party is a voluntary association, instituted for political purposes. It is organized for the purpose of effectuating the will of those who constitute its members, and it has the inherent power of determining its own policies." 143 Tex., at p. 5, 182 S. W. 2d, at 253. See Carter v. Tomlinson, 149 Tex. 7, 13, 227 S. W. 2d 795, 798; 29 Tex. L. Rev. 378.


Opinion of the Court.

generally been taken for granted, so that the voting for a president and vice-president has been usually formal merely. But the Twelfth Amendment does not make it so. The nominees of the party for president and vice-president may have become disqualified, or peculiarly offensive not only to the electors but their constituents also. They should be free to vote for another, as contemplated by the Twelfth Amendment.' 257 Ala., at, 57 So. 2d, at 398. In urging a contrary view the dissenting Alabama justices, in supporting the right of the Committee to require this candidate to pledge support to the party nominees, said:

99 10

"Any other view, it seems, would destroy effective party government and would privilege any candidate, regardless of his political persuasion, to enter a primary election as a candidate for elector and fix his

10 The court found support for its conclusion in the reasoning of an Opinion of the Justices in answer to questions propounded by the Governor of Alabama in 1948. 250 Ala. 399, 34 So. 2d 598. One question was "Would an elector chosen at the general election in November 1948 have a discretion as to the persons for whom he could cast his ballot for President and Vice President?" Alabama had amended § 226 of Title 17 of its Code, relating to the meeting and balloting of its electoral college, by adding "and shall cast their ballots for the nominee of the national convention of the party by which they were elected." That opinion said:

"The language of the Federal Constitution clearly shows that it was the intention of the framers of the Federal Constitution that the electors chosen for the several states would exercise their judgment and discretion in the performance of their duty in the election of the president and vice-president and in determining the individuals for whom they would cast the electoral votes of the states. History supports this interpretation without controversy." 250 Ala., at 400, 34 So. 2d, at 600. See McPherson v. Blacker, 146 U. S. 1, 36. See also Willbern, Discretion of Presidential Electors, 1 Ala. L. Rev. 40. On this review the right to a place on the primary ballot only is in contest.

Opinion of the Court.

343 U.S.

own qualifications for such candidacy. This is contrary to the traditional American political system." 257 Ala., at ——, 57 So. 2d, at 403.

The applicable constitutional provisions on their face furnish no definite answer to the query whether a state may permit a party to require party regularity from its primary candidates for national electors." The presidential electors exercise a federal function in balloting for President and Vice-President but they are not federal officers or agents any more than the state elector who votes for congressmen. They act by authority of the state that

11 As both constitutional provisions long antedated the party primary system, it is not to be expected that they or their legislative history would illumine this issue. They do not. Discussion in the Constitutional Convention as to the manner of election of the President resulted in the arrangement by which presidential electors were chosen by the state as its legislature might direct. McPherson v. Blacker, 146 U. S. 1, 28.

The Twelfth Amendment was brought about as the result of the difficulties caused by the procedure set up under Art. II, § 1. Under that procedure, the electors of each state did not vote separately for President and Vice-President; each elector voted for two persons, without designating which office he wanted each person to fill. If all the electors of the predominant party voted for the same two men, the election would result in a tie, and be thrown into the House, which might or might not be sympathetic to that party. During the John Adams administration, we had a President and Vice-President of different parties, a situation which could not commend itself either to the Nation or to most political theorists.

The situation was manifestly intolerable. Accordingly the Twelfth Amendment was adopted, permitting the electors to vote separately for presidential and vice-presidential candidates. Under this procedure, the party electors could vote the regular party ticket without throwing the election into the House. Electors could be chosen to vote for the party candidates for both offices, and the electors could carry out the desires of the people, without confronting the obstacles which confounded the elections of 1796 and 1800. See 11 Annals of Congress 1289-1290, 7th Cong., 1st Sess. (1802).

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