386 U.S. 120 (1967), 235, Kilgarlin v. Hill

Docket Nº:No. 235
Citation:386 U.S. 120, 87 S.Ct. 820, 17 L.Ed.2d 771
Party Name:Kilgarlin v. Hill
Case Date:February 20, 1967
Court:United States Supreme Court
 
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386 U.S. 120 (1967)

87 S.Ct. 820, 17 L.Ed.2d 771

Kilgarlin

v.

Hill

No. 235

United States Supreme Court

Feb. 20, 1967

APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS

Syllabus

Appellants challenge the 1965 legislative reapportionment of the Texas House of Representatives in a plan which combined single-member, multi-member, and floterial districts. The District Court sustained the plan except for the floterial districts, which were found to violate the principles of Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533, and permitted the 1966 election to proceed under the plan. Despite population variances among the remaining districts resulting in a 1.31 to 1 ratio between the largest and smallest districts, the District Court approved the plan, holding that appellants had not sustained their burden of negating the existence of any state of facts which would sustain the legislation and that the deviations were justified by the state policy of respecting county lines wherever possible.

Held: Population variances of the size evident here invoke the rule of Swann v. Adams, 385 U.S. 440, and, notwithstanding the District Court's view that the deviations here were generally justified by the state policy of respecting county lines, the judgment is reversed in part and the case is remanded for further proceedings to determine whether the state policy necessitates the range of deviations evident here.

252 F.Supp. 404, reversed in part and remanded.

Per curiam opinion.

PER CURIAM.

Following judicial invalidation of the constitutional and statutory provisions governing the apportionment of the Texas State Legislature, the State Legislature reapportioned both the House and the Senate. Appellants

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promptly challenged on various grounds the constitutionality of H.B. 195,1 which reapportioned the House of Representatives in a combination of single-member, multi-member and floterial districts. The District Court sustained all aspects of the plan except those provisions respecting the counties included in 11 floterial districts, 252 F.Supp. 404, which were found violative of the equality principles announced in Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533. The court did, however, over appellants' objections, permit the 1966 election to proceed under H.B. 195 with a proviso to the effect that, if the legislature did not adopt corrective legislation by August 1, 1967, the counties in the floterial districts would be reconstituted as multi-member districts and all the representatives assigned to those counties would be elected at large.

We affirm the District Court's action in permitting the 1966 election to proceed under H.B. 195 although constitutionally infirm in certain respects. In the particular circumstances of this case, there is ample precedent for the court's action. See Drum v. Seawell, 383 U.S. 831; Toombs v. Fortson, 384 U.S. 210. We also affirm the court's judgment insofar as it held that appellants had not proved their allegations that H.B. 195 was a racial or political gerrymander violating the Fourteenth Amendment, that it unconstitutionally deprived Negroes of their franchise, and that, because of its utilization of single-member, multi-member and floterial districts, it was an unconstitutional "crazy quilt."

In another respect, however, the District Court committed reversible error. Appellants alleged that, in addition to the inequalities inherent in the floterial districts,

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H.B. 195 also infringed Fourteenth Amendment rights...

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