Kramer v. Union Free School District
395 U.S. 621 (1969)

  • New York had a law (New York Education Law §2012) that said that in order to vote in school board elections, a person must either have custody of a kid in school, or own property in the district (and thus have an interest in how their property taxes were spent)
    • The idea was to limit voting to those affected by school board decisions.
  • Kramer had no children nor a house, but he wanted to vote. He sued, arguing that §2012 was an unconstitutional violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.
    • The School District argued that §2012 was designed to limit voting to those with knowledge and interest in the outcome.
  • The Trial Court found for the School District, Kramer appealed.
  • The Appellate Court found for the School District, Kramer appealed.
  • The US Supreme Court reversed and found §2012 to be unconstitutional.
    • The US Supreme Court found voting to be a fundamental right, and so they applied a strict scrutiny review.
    • The Court found that restrictions on voting are unconstitutional unless there is a compelling State interest.
      • In this case, the Court did not find the School District’s interest to be narrowly tailored enough to withstand strict scrutiny.
        • Because it was possible to be knowledgeable and interested in the school board elections without having kids or paying property taxes.
  • This case did leave open the possibility that a voting restriction could be constitutional if it were narrowly tailored enough.
    • See Ball v. James (451 U.S. 355 (1981)).