JUDICIARY: Change of Mind

Because Lonnie E. Smith is a Negro, election judges in Houston, Tex. barred him from the polls in a 1940 Democratic primary. Lonnie Smith saw his lawyers. This week the Supreme Court of the U.S. decided (8-to-1) that Texas must not bar Negroes from voting in primaries because of race. This had meaning for all Southern states—although poll taxes and "educational requirements" will still keep many a Negro from voting.

The Court had scrapped a nine-year-old precedent. In 1935 the Justices had decided that voting in the primaries was a "privilege" which the Democratic Party could extend or withhold—something like...