JUSTICE REHNQUIST delivered the opinion of the Court with respect to Parts I, II, and V, and delivered an opinion with respect to Parts III and IV, in which THE CHIEF JUSTICE, JUSTICE POWELL, and JUSTICE O'CONNOR joined.
Appellees in this case challenge two provisions of the Texas Constitution that limit a public official's ability to become a candidate for another public office. The primary question in this appeal is whether these provisions violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Article III, § 19, of the Texas Constitution provides:
Section 19 renders an officeholder ineligible for the Texas Legislature if his current term of office will not expire until after the legislative term to which he aspires begins. Lee v. Daniels, 377 S.W.2d 618, 619 (Tex. 1964). Resignation is ineffective to avoid § 19 if the officeholder's current term of office overlaps the term of the legislature to which he seeks election. Ibid. In other words, § 19 requires an officeholder to complete his current term of office before he may be eligible to serve in the legislature.
Article XVI, § 65, is commonly referred to as a "resign-to-run" or "automatic resignation" provision. Section 65 covers a wide range of state and county offices.
The District Court for the Western District of Texas held that § 19 and § 65 denied appellees equal protection. Fashing v. Moore, 489 F.Supp. 471 (1980). The District Court concluded that § 19 created "classifications that are invidiously discriminatory." Id., at 475. The District Court explained that § 19 draws distinctions between those officials whose terms end concurrently with the beginning of the legislative term and those whose terms overlap the legislative term. The court also found § 19 deficient because "[n]o reciprocal prohibition . . . is placed upon a legislator seeking to run for mayor or judge." Ibid. As to § 65, the District Court determined that the classifications embodied in § 65 "fail[ed] to serve any proper governmental interest" because some state and local officials were covered by § 65 while others were not. The Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed without opinion. Fashing v. Moore, 631 F.2d 731 (1980). We noted probable jurisdiction, 452 U.S. 904 (1981), and now reverse.
Before we may reach the merits of the constitutional issues in this case, we must address appellants' contention that the allegations in the complaint are insufficient to create a "case or controversy" between the officeholder-appellees and those Texas officials charged with enforcing § 19 and § 65. Appellants
We find the uncontested allegations in the complaint sufficient to create an actual case or controversy. The officeholder-appellees have alleged that they have not and will not announce their candidacy for higher judicial office because such action will constitute an automatic resignation of their current offices pursuant to § 65. Unlike the situation in Mitchell, appellees have alleged in a precise manner that, but for the sanctions of the constitutional provision they seek to challenge, they would engage in the very acts that would trigger the enforcement of the provision. Given that § 65 provides for automatic resignation upon an announcement of candidacy, it cannot be said that § 65 presents only a speculative or hypothetical obstacle to appellees' candidacy for higher judicial office. See Regional Rail Reorganization Act Cases, 419 U.S. 102, 143, and n. 29 (1974); Turner v. Fouche, 396 U.S. 346, 361-362, n. 23 (1970).
Baca's uncontested allegations are sufficient to create a case or controversy with regard to § 19. That provision entirely disables an officeholder from becoming a candidate for the legislature until he completes his present term of office. The gist of Baca's challenge to § 19 is that it renders him ineligible to become a candidate for the legislature because his term as Justice of the Peace overlaps the legislative term. Baca's dispute with appellants over the constitutionally of § 19, therefore, cannot be said to be abstract or hypothetical, since he has sufficiently alleged that § 19 has prevented him from becoming a candidate for the legislature.
The Equal Protection Clause allows the States considerable leeway to enact legislation that may appear to affect
Thus, we must first determine whether the provisions challenged in this case deserve "scrutiny" more vigorous than that which the traditional principles would require.
Far from recognizing candidacy as a "fundamental right," we have held that the existence of barriers to a candidate's access to the ballot "does not of itself compel close scrutiny." Bullock v. Carter, 405 U.S. 134, 143 (1972). "In approaching candidate restrictions, it is essential to examine in a realistic light the extent and nature of their impact on voters." Ibid. In assessing challenges to state election laws that restrict access to the ballot, this Court has not formulated a "litmus-paper test for separating those restrictions that are valid from those that are invidious under the Equal Protection Clause." Storer v. Brown, 415 U.S. 724, 730 (1974). Decision in this area of constitutional adjudication is a matter of degree, and involves a consideration of the facts and circumstances behind the law, the interests the State seeks to protect by placing restrictions on candidacy, and the nature of the interests of those who may be burdened by the restrictions. Ibid.; Williams v. Rhodes, 393 U.S. 23, 30 (1968).
One line of ballot access cases involves classifications based on wealth.
The second line of ballot access cases involves classification schemes that impose burdens on new or small political parties or independent candidates. See, e. g., Illinois State Bd. of Elections v. Socialist Workers Party, 440 U.S. 173 (1979); Storer v. Brown, supra; American Party of Texas v. White, 415 U.S. 767 (1974); Jenness v. Fortson, 403 U.S. 431 (1971); Williams v. Rhodes, supra. These cases involve requirements
The provisions of the Texas Constitution challenged in this case do not contain any classification that imposes special burdens on minority political parties or independent candidates. The burdens placed on those candidates subject to § 19 and § 65 in no way depend upon political affiliation or political viewpoint.
It does not automatically follow, of course, that we must apply traditional equal protection principles in examining § 19 and § 65 merely because these restrictions on candidacy do not fall into the two patterns just described. But this fact does counsel against discarding traditional principles without first examining the nature of the interests that are affected and the extent of the burden these provisions place on candidacy. See Bullock v. Carter, supra, at 143; Storer v. Brown, supra, at 730. Not all ballot access restrictions
Section 19 applies only to candidacy for the Texas Legislature. Of the appellees, only Baca, a Justice of the Peace, alleged that he would run for the Texas Legislature. Of the plaintiffs in this case, only appellee Baca's candidacy for another public office has in any fashion been restricted by § 19. The issue in this case, therefore, is whether § 19 may be applied to a Justice of the Peace in a manner consistent with the Equal Protection Clause.
Section 19 merely prohibits officeholders from cutting short their current term of office in order to serve in the legislature. In Texas, the term of office for a Justice of the Peace is four years, while legislative elections are held every
In making an equal protection challenge, it is the claimant's burden to "demonstrate in the first instance a discrimination against [him] of some substance." American Party of Texas v. White, 415 U. S., at 781. Classification is the essence of all legislation, and only those classifications which are invidious, arbitrary, or irrational offend the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution. Williamson v. Lee Optical Co., 348 U.S. 483, 489 (1955).
In establishing a maximum "waiting period" of two years for candidacy by a Justice of the Peace for the legislature, § 19 places a de minimis burden on the political aspirations of a current officeholder. Section 19 discriminates neither on the basis of political affiliation nor on any factor not related to a candidate's qualifications to hold political office. Unlike filing fees or the level-of-support requirements, § 19 in no way burdens access to the political process by those who are outside the "mainstream" of political life. In this case, § 19 burdens only a candidate who has successfully been elected to one office, but whose political ambitions lead him to pursue a seat in the Texas Legislature.
A "waiting period" is hardly a significant barrier to candidacy. In Storer v. Brown, 415 U. S., at 733-737, we upheld a statute that imposed a flat disqualification upon any candidate seeking to run in a party primary if he had been registered or affiliated with another political party within the 12 months preceding his declaration of candidacy. Similarly, we upheld a 7-year durational residency requirement for candidacy
Section 19 clearly rests on a rational predicate. That provision furthers Texas' interests in maintaining the integrity of the State's Justices of the Peace.
Texas has a legitimate interest in discouraging its Justices of the Peace from vacating their current terms of office. By requiring Justices of the Peace to complete their current terms of office, the State has eliminated one incentive to vacate one's office prior to the expiration of the term. The State may act to avoid the difficulties that accompany interim elections and appointments. "[T]he Constitution does not require the State to choose ineffectual means to achieve its
Finally, it is no argument that § 19 is invalid because it burdens only those officeholders who desire to run for the legislature. In Broadrick v. Oklahoma, 413 U.S. 601, 607, n. 5 (1973), we rejected the contention that Oklahoma's restrictions on political activity by public employees violated the Equal Protection Clause:
It would indeed be a perversion of the Equal Protection Clause were we to conclude that Texas must restrict a Justice of the Peace's candidacy for all offices before it can restrict a Justice of the Peace's candidacy for any office.
The Equal Protection Clause allows the State to regulate "one step at a time, addressing itself to the phase of the problem which seems most acute." Williamson v. Lee Optical Co., 348 U. S., at 489. The State "need not run the risk
Article XVI, § 65, of the Texas Constitution provides that the holders of certain offices automatically resign their positions if they become candidates for any other elected office, unless the unexpired portion of the current term is one year or less. The burdens that § 65 imposes on candidacy are even less substantial than those imposed by § 19. The two provisions, of course, serve essentially the same state interests. The District Court found § 65 deficient, however, not because of the nature or extent of the provision's restriction on candidacy, but because of the manner in which the offices are classified. According to the District Court, the classification system cannot survive equal protection scrutiny because Texas has failed to explain sufficiently why some elected public officials are subject to § 65 and why others are not. As with the case of § 19, we conclude that § 65 survives a challenge under the Equal Protection Clause unless appellees can show that there is no rational predicate to the classification scheme.
The history behind § 65 shows that it may be upheld consistent with the "one step at a time" approach that this Court has undertaken with regard to state regulation not subject to more vigorous scrutiny than that sanctioned by the traditional principles. Section 65 was enacted in 1954 as a transitional provision applying only to the 1954 election. 2 G. Braden, The Constitution of the State of Texas: An Annotated and Comparative Analysis 812 (1977). Section 65 extended the terms of those offices enumerated in the provision from two to four years. The provision also staggered the terms of other offices so that at least some county and local offices would be contested at each election. Ibid. The automatic
Thus, the automatic resignation provision in Texas is a creature of the State's electoral reforms of 1958. That the State did not go further in applying the automatic resignation provision to those officeholders whose terms were not extended by § 11 or § 65, absent an invidious purpose, is not the sort of malfunctioning of the State's lawmaking process forbidden by the Equal Protection Clause. See McDonald v. Board of Election Comm'rs, supra, at 809. A regulation is not devoid of a rational predicate simply because it happens to be incomplete. See Williamson v. Lee Optical Co., supra, at 489. The Equal Protection Clause does not forbid Texas to restrict one elected officeholder's candidacy for another elected office unless and until it places similar restrictions on other officeholders. Broadrick v. Oklahoma, 413 U. S., at 607, n. 5. Cf. Minnesota v. Clover Leaf Creamery Co., 449 U.S. 456, 466 (1981). The provision's language and its history belie any notion that § 65 serves the invidious purpose of denying access to the political process to identifiable classes of potential candidates.
As an alternative ground to support the judgments of the courts below, appellees contend that § 19 and § 65 violate the First Amendment. Our analysis of appellees' challenge under the Equal Protection Clause disposes of this argument. We have concluded that the burden on appellees' First Amendment interests in candidacy are so insignificant that the classifications of § 19 and § 65 may be upheld consistent with traditional equal protection principles. The State's interests in this regard are sufficient to warrant the de
There is another reason why appellees' First Amendment challenge must fail. Appellees are elected state officeholders who contest restrictions on partisan political activity. Section 19 and § 65 represent a far more limited restriction on political activity than this Court has upheld with regard to civil servants. See CSC v. Letter Carriers, 413 U.S. 548 (1973); Broadrick v. Oklahoma, supra, United Public Workers v. Mitchell, 330 U.S. 75 (1947). These provisions in no way restrict appellees' ability to participate in the political campaigns of third parties. They limit neither political contributions nor expenditures. They do not preclude appellees from holding an office in a political party. Consistent with § 19 and § 65, appellees may distribute campaign literature and may make speeches on behalf of a candidate.
In this case, § 19 operates merely to require appellee Baca to await the conclusion of his 4-year term as Justice of the Peace before he may run for the Texas Legislature. By virtue of § 65, appellees in this case will automatically resign their current offices if they announce their candidacy for higher judicial office so long as the unexpired term of their current office exceeds one year. In this sense, § 19 and § 65 are in reality no different than the provisions we upheld in Mitchell, Letter Carriers, and Broadrick, which required dismissal of any civil servant who became a political candidate. See 413 U. S., at 556; 413 U. S., at 617.
Neither the Equal Protection Clause nor the First Amendment authorizes this Court to review in cases such as this the manner in which a State has decided to govern itself. Constitutional limitations arise only if the classification scheme is
The judgment of the Court of Appeals is
JUSTICE STEVENS, concurring in part and concurring in the judgment.
In cases presenting issues under the Equal Protection Clause, the Court often plunges directly into a discussion of the "level of scrutiny" that will be used to review state action that affects different classes of persons differently. Unfortunately that analysis may do more to obfuscate than to clarify the inquiry. This case suggests that a better starting point may be a careful identification of the character of the federal interest in equality that is implicated by the State's discriminatory classification. In my opinion, the disparate treatment in this case is not inconsistent with any federal interest that is protected by the Equal Protection Clause. With respect to the state action at issue, there is no federal requirement that the different classes be treated as though they were the same.
It is first helpful to put to one side the claim that the burdens imposed on certain Texas officeholders are inconsistent with the First Amendment. I am satisfied that the State's interest in having its officeholders faithfully perform the public responsibilities they have voluntarily undertaken is adequate to justify the restrictions placed on their ability to run for other offices. Nor is the First Amendment violated by the fact that the restrictions do not apply equally to all offices; while that Amendment requires a State's treatment of speech to be evenhanded, there is no suggestion here that the State's classification of offices operates to promote a certain viewpoint at the expense of another. The federal constitutional inquiry thus is limited to the question whether the
In considering that question, certain preliminary observations are important. The complaining officeholders do not object to the fact that they are treated differently from members of the general public.
The question presented then is whether there is any federal interest in requiring a State to define the benefits and burdens of different elective state offices in any particular manner. In my opinion there is not. As far as the Equal Protection Clause is concerned, a State may decide to pay a justice of the peace a higher salary than a Supreme Court justice. It may require game wardens to work longer hours than park rangers. It may require meat inspectors to wear uniforms without requiring building inspectors to do so. In addition, I see no reason why a State may not provide that certain offices will be filled on a part-time basis and that others will be filled by persons who may not seek other office until they have fulfilled their duties in the first. There may be no explanation for these classifications that a federal judge
As in so many areas of the law, it is important to consider each case individually. In the situation presented, however, I believe that there is no federal interest in equality that requires the State of Texas to treat the different classes as though they were the same.
JUSTICE BRENNAN, with whom JUSTICE MARSHALL and JUSTICE BLACKMUN join, and with whom JUSTICE WHITE joins as to Part I, dissenting.
In rejecting appellees' equal protection challenge on the basis that the State is proceeding "one step at a time," the plurality today gives new meaning to the term "legal fiction."
Putting to one side the question of the proper level of equal protection scrutiny to be applied to these restrictions on candidacy for public office,
The State seeks to justify both provisions on the basis of its interest in discouraging abuse of office and neglect of duties by current officeholders campaigning for higher office during their terms. The plurality posits an additional justification not asserted by the State for § 19: That section also discourages certain officeholders "from vacating their current terms of office." Ante, at 968. But neither the State nor the plurality offers any justification for differential treatment of various classes of officeholders, and the search for such justification makes clear that the classifications embodied in these provisions lack any meaningful relationship to the State's asserted or supposed interests.
Article III, § 19, provides:
And the Texas Election Code provides that persons ineligible to hold an office shall not be permitted to campaign for that office. Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat. Ann., Arts. 1.05, 1.06 (Vernon Supp. 1982). Article III, § 19, creates, in effect, two classes of officeholders. Officeholders of state, federal, and even foreign offices seeking Texas legislative office whose terms overlap with the legislative term are barred from campaigning
What relationship does the plurality find between the burden placed on the class of all state, federal, and foreign officeholders seeking legislative seats and the asserted state interests? If it faced the question, the plurality would of course have to acknowledge that Texas has no interest in protecting, for example, federal officials — particularly those serving the electorate of another State — from the corrupting influence of a state legislative campaign. The only conceivable state interest in barring these candidacies would be the purely impermissible one of protecting Texas legislative seats against outside competition. But the plurality does not address this question or purport to find any justification for the broad reach of § 19. Instead it defines the equal protection challenge to § 19 as "whether § 19 may be applied to a [Texas] Justice of the Peace," ante, at 966, and acknowledges that § 19 would not necessarily survive constitutional scrutiny with regard to any other officeholder, ante, at 968, n. 5. The plurality defines the question in this manner because Baca, the appellee challenging this provision, is a Justice of the Peace. But the State has defined the class of persons restricted by § 19 as all persons "holding a lucrative office under the United States, or [Texas], or any foreign government." And it has always been my understanding that " `[e]qual protection' . . . emphasizes disparity in treatment by a State between classes of individuals," in contrast to " `[d]ue process'," which "emphasizes fairness between the State and the individual dealing with the State, regardless of how other individuals in the same situation may be treated." Ross v. Moffitt, 417 U.S. 600, 609 (1974). Accordingly, our equal protection cases have always assessed the legislative purpose in light of the class as the legislature has drawn it, rather than on the basis
The plurality cannot, in the same manner that it avoids the overbreadth of the class, avoid the irrationality in the fact that § 19 applies only to candidacy for the Texas Legislature. Officeholders are free to run for President, the United States Senate, governor, mayor, city council, and many other offices. The distracting and corrupting effects of campaigning are obviously present in all campaigns, not only those for the legislature. The plurality responds to this characteristic of the legislative scheme by stating that "[t]he Equal Protection Clause allows the State to regulate `one step at a time . . . .' " Ante, at 969, quoting Williamson v. Lee Optical Co., 348 U.S. 483, 489 (1955). But the record in this case belies any assertion by the State that it is proceeding "one step at a time." Article III, § 19, has existed in its present form since 1876. There is no legislative history to explain its intended purpose or to suggest that it is part of a larger, more equitable regulatory scheme.
A state legislature may implement a program step by step, and an underinclusive regulation may be upheld where the record demonstrates that such "one step at a time" regulation is in fact being undertaken. See, e. g., Minnesota v. Clover Leaf Creamery Co., 449 U.S. 456, 465-466 (1981); McDonald v. Board of Election Comm'rs, 394 U.S. 802, 809-811 (1969). I cannot subscribe, however, to the plurality's wholly fictional one-step-at-a-time justification. As JUSTICE STEVENS points out in his concurrence, the plurality's one-step-at-a-time response in this case "is simply another way of stating that there need be no justification at all for treating two classes differently during the interval between the first step and the second step — an interval that, of course, may well last forever." Ante, at 976.
Section 19's haphazard reach and isolated existence strikes me as the very sort of "arbitrary scheme or plan" that we distinguished from an as-yet-uncompleted design in McDonald v. Board of Election Comm'rs, supra, at 811, a case the plurality relies on to support the classification in this case, see ante, at 971. In McDonald the record demonstrated that in providing absentee ballots to certain classes of persons the State was in fact proceeding step by step. The State had demonstrated "a consistent and laudable state policy of adding,
Appellants, unlike the plurality, at least attempt to justify the distinction between legislative campaigns and other campaigns. They argue that an officeholder-candidate will not enforce legislative policy if he or she is campaigning for a legislative seat. Brief for Appellants 9. But this attempted justification is unpersuasive. Appellants' argument apparently rests on the tenuous premise that a candidate is likely to choose the strategy of undermining the program of an incumbent opponent in order to advance his own prospects. It is plain that whatever force there is to this premise cannot be limited to a candidate for the legislature; it may as logically be argued that a judge will further his ambition for higher judicial office by failing to follow judicial decisions of a higher court, or that a state legislator with gubernatorial aspirations will use his present position to sabotage the program of the present administration. Even assuming that the State has a particular interest in protecting state legislative policy, and accepting appellants' somewhat dubious premise, it is still apparent to me that this asserted purpose is ill-served by the group of officeholders covered by § 19. Only those officeholders whose terms happen to overlap with the legislative term are prohibited from running for the legislature.
I turn now to Art. XVI, § 65. That section applies only to persons holding any of approximately 16 enumerated offices.
Other officeholders, performing similar if not identical duties, are not within the reach of this or any similar restriction and are thus free to campaign for one office while holding another. Article XVI, § 65, while lacking § 19's broad sweep into areas completely beyond the purview of the State's concerns, restricts the candidacy only of an unexplained and seemingly inexplicable collection of administrative, executive, and judicial officials. The only distinguishing features of the officeholders collected in § 65 is that in 1954 their terms of office were increased from two to four years, and they all happen to be precinct, county, and district officials as opposed to members of the legislature or statewide elected officials. See 2 G. Braden, The Constitution of the State of Texas: An Annotated and Comparative Analysis 813 (1977). Neither appellants nor the plurality offer any explanation why the State has a greater interest in having the undivided attention of a "Public Weigher" than of a state criminal court judge, or any reason why the State has a greater interest in preventing the abuse of office by an "Inspector of Hides and Animals," than by a justice of the Texas Supreme Court. Yet in each instance § 65 applies to the former office and not to the latter. Again the plurality opines that the State is legislating "one step at a time." But while Art. XVI, § 65, is of more recent vintage than Art. III, § 19, it has been part of the Texas Constitution for 24 years without prompting any corresponding rule applicable to holders of statewide office. Thus § 65, like § 19, cannot in any realistic sense be upheld as one step in an evolving scheme.
In short, in my view, neither Art. III, § 19, nor Art. XVI, § 65, can survive even minimal equal protection scrutiny.
I also believe that Art. III, § 19, violates the First Amendment. The Court dismisses this contention by stating that this provision is a more limited restriction on political activities of public employees than we have upheld in prior cases. But none of our precedents presented a restriction on campaigning that applied even after an official had resigned from public office or to officials who did not serve in the regulating government. Moreover, the Court does not go on to address what is for me the crucial question: What justification does the State have for this restriction and how does this provision address the State's asserted interests?
The Court acknowledges that Art. III, § 19, restrains government employees' pursuit of political office. Such pursuit is clearly protected by the First Amendment and restrictions on it must be justified by the State's interest in ensuring the continued proper performance of current public duties. As the Court notes, similar competing considerations were considered in CSC v. Letter Carriers, 413 U.S. 548 (1973), Broadrick v. Oklahoma, 413 U.S. 601 (1973), and United Public Workers v. Mitchell, 330 U.S. 75 (1947).
In United Public Workers, the Court upheld § 9(a) of the Hatch Act, 5 U. S. C. § 7324(a)(2), which prohibits certain federal civil service employees from taking "an active part in political management or political campaigns." In Letter Carriers
At the same time, this Court has unequivocally rejected the premise that one surrenders the protection of the First Amendment by accepting the responsibilities of public employment. Elrod v. Burns, 427 U.S. 347 (1976); Pickering v. Board of Education, supra. And the Court has clearly recognized that restrictions on candidacy impinge on First Amendment rights. See, e. g., Illinois State Bd. of Elections v. Socialist Workers Party, 440 U.S. 173 (1979); Lubin v. Panish, 415 U.S. 709 (1974); American Party of Texas v. White, 415 U.S. 767 (1974); Bullock v. Carter, 405 U.S. 134, 142-143 (1972); Williams v. Rhodes, 393 U.S. 23, 34 (1968).
In undertaking this balance, I acknowledge, of course, that the State has a vital interest in ensuring that public officeholders perform their duties properly, and that a State requires substantial flexibility to develop both direct and indirect methods of serving that interest. But if the State's interest is not substantially furthered by the challenged restrictions, then the restrictions are an unnecessary intrusion into employee rights. If the restriction is effective, but interferes with protected activity more than is reasonably necessary to further the asserted state interest, then the overintrusive aspects of the restriction lack constitutional justification. In short, to survive scrutiny under the First Amendment, a restriction on political campaigning by government employees must be narrowly tailored and substantially related to furthering the State's asserted interests.
It is clear to me that Art. III, § 19, is not narrowly tailored to conform to the State's asserted interests. Nor does it further those interests in a meaningful way. I have discussed briefly the broad sweep and thus the absence of narrow tailoring of § 19 in Part I, supra. Section 19 bars the candidacy of a wide class of state, federal, and foreign officeholders. The offices enumerated in § 19 include the judges of all courts, the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the
Section 19 is not merely a resign-to-run law, or a prohibition on dual officeholding. Rather, the Texas Supreme Court has construed the phrase, "during the term for which he was elected or appointed," to bar candidacy for the legislature even after an official has resigned from his current office. See n. 4, supra. As one commentator has noted, § 19 "has trapped the unwary who believed (not unreasonably) that by resigning their present office they would be eligible to run for the legislature." 1 G. Braden, The Constitution of the State of Texas: An Annotated and Comparative Analysis 135 (1977).
In many of its applications § 19 has absolutely no connection to Texas' interest in how Texas public officials perform their current duties. This provision applies to persons holding office under the United States or any foreign government and would thus bar a person holding federal office from resigning from that office and running for the Texas Legislature.
The same irrationality evident to me when I analyzed § 19 under the Equal Protection Clause convinces me that it is not substantially related to furthering the asserted state interests. Appellants contend that § 19 promotes attention to
In sum, the prohibition of § 19 furthers in no substantial way any of the asserted state interests said to support it, and is not narrowly tailored to avoid unnecessary interference with the First Amendment interests of government employees. Accordingly, in my view, this provision is invalid as an unjustified infringement on appellees' First Amendment rights.
Because the Court finds neither an equal protection nor a First Amendment violation in either of these restrictions on candidacy, I respectfully dissent.
In my view, some greater deference may be due the State because these restrictions affect only public employees, see Part II, infra, but this does not suggest that, in subjecting these classifications to equal protection scrutiny, we should completely disregard the vital interests of the candidates and the citizens who they represent in a political campaign.