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Kramer v. Union Free School District No. 15

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Constitutional Law Keyed to Stone

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Citation. 395 U.S. 621, 89 S. Ct. 1886, 23 L. Ed. 2d 583, 1969 U.S. 1261.

Brief Fact Summary. A single man with no children who lived with his parents challenged a law that required voters in certain school board elections to either own or lease taxable property within that school district, or have children enrolled in the local schools.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. Laws granting the voting franchise to residents on a selective basis always pose the danger of denying some citizens any effective voice in the governmental affairs which substantially affect their lives. Therefore, if a challenged law grants the right to vote to some bona fide residents of the requisite age and citizenship and denies the franchise to others, the Court must determine whether the conclusions are necessary to promote a compelling state interest.


Facts. Section 2012 of the New York Education Law provides that in certain New York school districts, residents may vote in the school district election only if they own or lease taxable property within that school district, or have children (or have custody of children) enrolled in the local schools. Appellant, Mr. Kramer, was “a thirty-one year old college-educated stockbroker who lives in his parents’ home.” Since Appellant “neither owns nor leases taxable real property” in the school district, he was denied the right to vote in the school board elections. Appellant was unsuccessful in his constitutional attack on the law in the lower courts.

Issue. Whether the New York Education Law’s exclusion is necessary to promote a compelling state interest.
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