Connor v. Johnson 8212

Citation29 L.Ed.2d 268,402 U.S. 690,91 S.Ct. 1760
PartiesPeggy J. CONNOR, Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, et al. v. Paul B. JOHNSON et al. No. —-
Decision Date03 June 1971
CourtU.S. Supreme Court

See 403 U.S. 924, 91 S.Ct. 2220.


On May 14, 1971, a three-judge District Court, convened in the Southern District of Mississippi, invalidated the Mississippi Legislature's latest reapportionment statute as allowing impermissibly large variations among House and Senate districts. The parties were requested by the court to submit suggested plans, and the applicants did so on May 17. All four plans suggested by applicants utilized single-member districts ex- clusively in Hinds County. The following day, May 18, 330 F.Supp. 506, the court issued its own plan, which included single- and multi-member districts in each House; Hinds County was constituted as a multi-member district electing five senators and 12 representatives. The court expressed some reluctance over use of multi-member districts in counties electing four or more senators or representatives, saying: '(I)t would be ideal if (such counties) could be divided into districts, for the election of one member (from) the district.' However, in view of the June 4, 1971, deadline for filing notices of candidacy, the court concluded that: '(W)ith the time left available it is a matter of sheer impossibility to obtain dependable data, population figures, boundary locations, etc. so as fairly and correctly to divide these counties into districts for the election of single members of the Senate or this House in time for the elections of 1971.' The court promised to appoint a special master in January 1972 to investigate the possibility of single-member districts for the general elections of 1975 and 1979.

Applicants moved the District Court to stay its order. The motion was denied on May 24. Applicants have now applied to this Court for a stay of the District Court's order and for an extension of the June 4 filing deadline until the District Court shall have provided single-member districts in Hinds County, or until the Attorney General or the District Court for the District of Columbia approves the District Court's apportionment plan under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, 79 Stat. 439, 42 U.S.C. § 1973c (1964 ed., Supp. V).

Insofar as applicants ask relief under the Voting Rights Act the motion for stay is denied. A decree of the United States District Court is not within reach of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. However, other reasons lead us to grant the motion to the extent indicated below.

In failing to devise single-member districts, the court was under the belief that insufficient time remained until June 4, the deadline for the filing of notices of candidacy. Yet at that time June 4 was 17 days away and, according to an uncontradicted statement in the brief supporting this motion, the applicants were able to formulate and offer to the court four single-member district plans for Hinds County in the space of three days. Also according to uncontradicted statements, these plans were based on data which included county maps showing existing political subdivisions, the supervisory districts used by the Census Bureau for the taking of the 1970 census, official 1970 Census Bureau 'final population counts,' and 'computer print-out from Census Bureau official computer tapes showing total and white/Negro population by census enumeration districts.' Applicants also assert that no other population figures will subsequently become available.

The District Court's judgment was that single-member districting would be 'ideal' for Hinds County. We agree that when district courts are forced to fashion apportionment plans, single-member districts are preferable to large multi-member districts as a general matter. Furthermore, given the census information apparently available and the dispatch with which the applicants devised suggested plans for the District Court, it is our view that, on this record, the District Court had ample time to devise single-member districts for Hinds County prior to the June 4 filing deadline. While meeting the June 4 date is no longer possible, there is nothing before us to suggest any insurmountable barrier to devising such a plan by June 14, 1971. Therefore the motion for stay is granted and the judgment below is stayed until June 14. The District Court is instructed, absent insurmountable difficulties, to devise and put into effect a single-member district plan for Hinds County by that date. In light of this disposition, the District Court is directed to extend the June 4 filing date for legislative candidates from Hinds County to an appropriate date so that those candidates and the State of Mississippi may act in...

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126 cases
  • Daniel v. Sanchez
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 1, 1981
    ...does not apply to plans prepared and adopted by a federal court to remedy a constitutional violation. See Connor v. Johnson, 402 U.S. 690, 91 S.Ct. 1760, 29 L.Ed.2d 268 (per curiam ).15 Petitioners contend that the Act does not apply to this reapportionment plan because it is a court-ordere......
  • Mahan v. Howell City of Virginia Beach v. Howell Weinberg v. Prichard 8212 364, 71 8212 373 71 8212 444
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • February 21, 1973
    ...County, a result that this Court might well have been thought to disfavor as a result of its opinion in Connor v. Johnson, 402 U.S. 690, 692, 91 S.Ct. 1760 1762, 29 L.Ed.2d 268 (1971). The State can scarcely be condemned for simultaneously attempting to move toward smaller districts and to ......
  • Bolden v. City of Mobile, Alabama, Civ. A. No. 75-297-P.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Southern District of Alabama
    • October 28, 1976
    ...plans, single-member districts are preferable to large multi-member districts as a general matter." Connor v. Johnson, 402 U.S. 690, 692, 91 S.Ct. 1760, 1762, 29 L.Ed.2d 268 (1971). The Court reaffirmed this twice in the last term. East Carroll Parish School Board, and Wallace, supra. Once ......
  • Graves v. Barnes, Civ. A. No. A-71-CA-142 to A-71-CA-145.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Western District of Texas
    • January 28, 1972
    ...132; Legislature of the State of California v. Reinecke, 99 Cal.Rptr. 481, 492 P.2d 385 (1972). See generally Connor v. Johnson, 1971, 402 U.S. 690, 91 S.Ct. 1760, 29 L.Ed.2d 268. We have serious doubts that this board did the sort of deliberative job contemplated by Reynolds as worthy of j......
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1 books & journal articles
  • Do Multimember Districts Lead to Free‐Riding?
    • United States
    • Legislative Studies Quarterly No. 32-4, November 2007
    • November 1, 2007
    ...“Incumbency and theProbability of Reelection in State Legislative Elections.” Journal of Politics 62:671–700.Connor v. Johnson. 1971. 402 U.S. 690.Cooper, Christopher A., and Lilliard E. Richardson, Jr. 2006. “Institutions and Repre-sentational Roles in U.S. State Legislatures.” State Polit......

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