Goldblatt v. City of Dallas, 26557.

Decision Date15 August 1969
Docket NumberNo. 26557.,26557.
Citation414 F.2d 774
PartiesMax B. GOLDBLATT, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. The CITY OF DALLAS, Defendant-Appellee.
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Fifth Circuit

Joseph A. Devany, Dallas, Tex., for appellant.

N. Alex Bickley, Ted P. MacMaster, H. P. Kucera, Dallas, Tex., for appellee.

Before THORNBERRY and SIMPSON, Circuit Judges, and CASSIBRY, District Judge.

SIMPSON, Circuit Judge:

The City Charter of Dallas, Sections 19, 20, and 21, divides the city into six substantially equal districts.1 These sections provide for the city-wide election of nine city councilmen; six of whom must be residents of the six districts; the remaining three must run at large (six-three plan).

In the Dallas City Council election held on April 4, 1967, appellant received the majority of the votes in his residence district but was outpolled in the remaining five districts and lost the election. As a consequence, the defeated candidate sought to vitiate the election results and sought both a preliminary and a permanent injunction in the court below restraining the city from holding elections under Section 21 of the Charter.2

The appellant urged the entry of the injunctive orders on the ground that Section 21 is unconstitutional as denying the appellant and all voters in his district equal protection of the law in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. The court below refused to issue the injunctions and granted the City's motion for summary judgment. After some procedural sparring, this appeal was finally taken.3

The appellant wisely does not contend that the Dallas "six-three" city council election structure is unconstitutional per se. An analogous plan was specifically approved by the Supreme Court in Dusch v. Davis, 387 U.S. 112, 87 S.Ct. 1554, 18 L.Ed.2d 656 (1967). See also Fortson v. Dorsey, 379 U.S. 433, 85 S.Ct. 498, 13 L.Ed.2d 401; Davis v. Thomas County, Georgia, 5 Cir. 1967, 380 F.2d 93; Robertson v. Gallion, M.D.Ala.1968, 282 F. Supp. 157; Reed v. Mann, N.D.Ga.1964, 237 F.Supp. 22. Rather, the appellant's contention is that the charter provision as applied is a denial of equal protection to himself and the other voters of his district.

The essential theory of the appellant is that a Dallas organization known as the Citizens Charter Association (C.C.A.) has used Section 21 to perpetuate and preserve control of the city council. The appellant describes the C.C.A. as a group which is comprised of all powerful millionaires who use their power, influence, position, and money to back their own handpicked candidates.4

The appellant asserts that Section 21 is a denial of equal protection to voters because it permits the influence of the C.C.A. to be applied city-wide so as to defeat the will of the voters of a particular district. Further, the appellant suggests that Section 21 constitutes a denial of equal protection to independent candidates who are financially unable to compete with the wealth of the C.C.A. on a city-wide basis. The ultimate effect of Section 21, the appellant concludes, is to stagnate public interest and allow the dictates of a few to control the will of the majority.

Taking the facts alleged as true, no denial of equal protection or invidious discrimination has been demonstrated. The Dallas plan simply requires that every City Council candidate must be elected by the entire city. Therefore, the "one man-one vote" principle is automatically complied with because all votes are equal in a city-wide election. The possibility that a particular resident candidate wins in his district but loses city-wide does not amount to discrimination against either the candidate or against the voters of that district. The election is city-wide and the elected official is a representative of the entire city and not merely of a particular district. Consequently, we conclude that Section 21 does not constitute a denial of equal protection either per se or in application.

Stripped of legalese, the appellant is complaining because the citizens of Dallas either from apathy or by design have not exercised the power of the ballot to rid themselves of what ...

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4 cases
  • Reese v. Dallas County, Alabama
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Fifth Circuit
    • 30 Diciembre 1974
    ...similar to the one challenged here. See Fortson v. Dorsey, 379 U.S. 433, 85 S.Ct. 498, 13 L.Ed.2d 401 (1965); Goldblatt v. City of Dallas, 5 Cir., 1969, 414 F.2d 774. 6 In these cases, however, the subdistricts were equally populated and thus did not cause the discrimination that appears in......
  • Lipscomb v. Jonsson, 71-1451.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Fifth Circuit
    • 27 Abril 1972
    ...of the Fourteenth Amendment. The district court disposed of this contention on the authority of our decision in Goldblatt v. City of Dallas, 5 Cir. 1969, 414 F.2d 774, and the plaintiffs have not urged it on this The plaintiffs' second contention is the focal point of this appeal. The compl......
  • Sheffield v. Itawamba County Board of Supervisors, 30452.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Fifth Circuit
    • 19 Febrero 1971
    ...87 S.Ct. 1554, 18 L.Ed.2d 656 (1967); Taylor v. Monroe County Bd. of Supervisors, 394 F.2d 333 (5th Cir. 1968); Goldblatt v. City of Dallas, 414 F.2d 774 (5th Cir. 1969). Although the operation of the Mississippi statute authorizing at-large elections as an alternative has been suspended, i......
  • Haynes v. Dallas County Junior College District, Civ. A. No. 3-3751-A.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Northern District of Texas
    • 2 Diciembre 1974
    ...City of Dallas, 279 F.Supp. 106 (N.D.Tex.1968), appeal dismissed, 391 U.S. 360, 88 S.Ct. 1666, 20 L.Ed.2d 646 (1968), aff'd, 414 F.2d 774, 775 n. 3 (5 Cir. 1968), all three Judges join in the order dissolving the three-judge court and also in the single District Judge's Memorandum Decision ......

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