Washington Law Review




On April 29, 1968, the Board of Education of Roane County, West Virginia, submitted to its electorate a proposal calling for the issuance of general obligation bonds, the proceeds of which were to be used for the construction of new school buildings and the improvement of existing educational facilities. At the same election, by separate ballot, the voters were asked to authorize the Board to levy additional taxes to support current expenditures and capital improvements. Both proposals failed to receive the requisite sixty percent affirmative vote and were defeated. Following the election, respondents, a group of concerned parents, appeared before the Board on behalf of themselves and other persons who had voted in favor of the proposals. They demanded that the Board authorize the bonds and the additional taxes. The Board refused and respondents brought suit seeking a declaratory judgment that West Virginia's constitutional and statutory supermajority requirements violated the equal protection clause of the fourteenth amendment to the United States Constitution. After a dismissal by the trial court, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals held that the requirements did violate the equal protection guarantee. On appeal, the United States Supreme Court reversed. Held: The West Virginia provisions do not discriminate against any identifiable class and, therefore, do not violate the equal protection clause. Gordon v. Lance, 403 U.S. 1 (1971).

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