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Powell v. McCormack

Significance, The Court Rulings, Moot Point, Making A Distinction, The Right To Run For Public Office


Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.


John McCormack

Petitioner's Claim

That the House of Representatives had no constitutional right to exclude Powell, a member who met all constitutional requirements for office.

Chief Lawyers for Petitioner

Arthur Kinoy, Herbert O. Reid

Chief Lawyer for Respondent

Bruce Bromley

Justices for the Court

Hugo Lafayette Black, William J. Brennan, Jr., William O. Douglas, Abe Fortas, John Marshall Harlan II, Thurgood Marshall, Earl Warren (writing for the Court), Byron R. White

Justices Dissenting

Potter Stewart


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

16 June 1969


Powell could not be excluded from the House by majority vote, because he met the qualifications of age, citizenship, and residence set down in the Constitution.

Related Cases

  • Kilbourn v. Thompson, 103 U.S. 168 (1881).
  • Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186 (1962).
  • Bond v. Floyd, 385 U.S. 116 (1966).


Scruton, Roger. A Dictionary of Political Thought, second edition. London: Macmillan, 1996.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1963 to 1972