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Terry v. Adams

Significance, The Jaybird Primary, A Pressure Group, Impact





Petitioner's Claim

That excluding black voters from the Jaybird Democratic Association's primary elections violated their right to vote based on race and color.

Chief Lawyer for Petitioner

J. Edwin Smith

Chief Lawyer for the Respondent

Edgar E. Townes, Jr.

Justices for the Court

Hugo Lafayette Black (writing for the Court), Harold Burton, Tom C. Clark, William O. Douglas, Felix Frankfurter, Robert H. Jackson, Stanley Forman Reed, Fred Moore Vinson

Justices Dissenting

Sherman Minton


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

4 May 1953


Reversed a decision by a court of appeals and held that the combined election procedures of the association and the Democratic Party deprived black citizens of the right to vote, contrary to the Fifteenth Amendment.

Related Cases

  • United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U.S. 542 (1876).
  • Guinn and Beal v. United States, 238 U.S. 347 (1915).
  • Smith v. Allwright, 321 U.S. 649 (1944).
  • Shelley v. Kraemer, 334 U.S. 1 (1948).

Further Readings

  • Hall, Kermit L., ed. The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States. New York: Oxford Press, 1992.
  • Levy, Leonard W., ed. Encyclopedia of the American Constitution. Vol. 4. New York: Macmillan, 1986.
  • Lieberman, Jethro K. The Evolving Constitution. New York: Random House, 1992.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1941 to 1953