Rice v. Sioux City Cemetery

349 U.S. 70
Rice v. Sioux City Cemetery
Argued: November 8-9, 1954
Decided: May 9, 1955


On Petition for Rehearing.
Mr. Lowell C. Kindig, Sioux City, Iowa, for petitioner.
Mr. Jesse E. Marshall, Sioux City, Iowa, for respondents.
Mr. Justice FRANKFURTER delivered the opinion of the Court.

Dissenting Opinion

Mr. Justice BLACK, with whom THE CHIEF JUSTICE and Mr. Justice DOUGLAS join, dissenting.

We think that only very unusual circumstances can justify dismissal of cases on the ground that certiorari was improvidently granted. Our objections to such dismissals are stronger when, as here, a case has already been argued and decided by the Court. We do not agree that the circumstances relied on by the Court justify this dismissal. We granted certiorari because serious questions were raised concerning a denial of the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment. Those questions remain undecided. The Court dismisses the case because the Iowa Legislature has provided that every person in Iowa except one who has already filed a suit can prosecute claims like this. Apparently this law leaves everyone in Iowa free to vindicate this kind of right except the petitioner. This raises a new question of denial of equal protection of the laws equally as grave as those which prompted us to take this case originally. We cannot agree that this dismissal is justified merely because this petitioner is the only one whose rights may have been unconstitutionally denied.

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