Kimble v. Swackhamer

439 U.S. 1385 (1978)

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Kimble v. Swackhamer

United States Supreme Court
439 U.S. 1385 (1978)

Facts

Issac Kimble (plaintiff) was a Nevada voter who was part of a group that filed suit against Nevada Secretary of State William Swackhamer (defendant), seeking to enjoin Swackhamer from placing a referendum on the Nevada ballot for an advisory vote on passing the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the United States Constitution. The Nevada legislature had passed a statute that mandated such an advisory referendum on the ERA. That vote would not be binding upon the legislature or place on them any legal duty regarding the actual ratification of the ERA—simply stated, the legislature could go opposite the advisory referendum or even choose not to vote on ratification. However, Kimble believed that the advisory referendum was essentially giving the voters of Nevada the ability to determine the ratification of the ERA. Kimble cited prior caselaw that noted that deferring ratification to state voters was indeed invalid, as it violated Article V of the United States Constitution. However, the prior law did not consider a merely advisory referendum such as this one. The lower courts ruled against Kimble, but he appealed to the United States Supreme Court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Rehnquist, J.)

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