Kingman Park Civic Ass'n v. Williams

Decision Date14 November 2003
Docket NumberNo. 02-7100.,02-7100.
Citation348 F.3d 1033
PartiesKINGMAN PARK CIVIC ASSOCIATION and Chevy Chase Civic Association, Appellants, v. Anthony A. WILLIAMS, et al., Appellees.
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — District of Columbia Circuit

Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia (No. 01cv02675).

Frazer Walton, Jr. argued the cause for appellants. With him on the briefs was Steven W. Teppler.

John R. Hoellen, Assistant General Counsel, argued the cause for appellee Council of the District of Columbia. With him on the brief were Charlotte Brookins-Hudson, General Counsel, and Katherine Westcott, Assistant General Counsel. Brian K. Flowers, Assistant General Counsel, entered an appearance.

Michael F. Wasserman, Assistant Corporation Counsel, argued the cause for appellee Mayor Anthony A. Williams. With him on the brief was Charles L. Reischel, Deputy Corporation Counsel at the time the brief was filed. Donna M. Murasky, Senior Litigation Counsel, and Edward E. Schwab, Assistant Corporation Counsel, entered appearances.

Before: EDWARDS, ROGERS, and GARLAND, Circuit Judges.

Opinion for the Court filed by Circuit Judge HARRY T. EDWARDS.

HARRY T. EDWARDS, Circuit Judge:

This appeal involves a challenge to the Ward Redistricting Amendment Act of 2001 (the "Ward Redistricting Act" or the "Act"), which redrew the boundaries of the District of Columbia's eight electoral wards following the 2000 census. See D.C.CODE § 1-1041.03 (Supp.2003). Shortly before the new ward boundaries took effect, appellants Kingman Park Civic Association ("KPCA") and Chevy Chase Civic Association ("CCCA") brought suit in the District Court against D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams ("the Mayor") in his official capacity and the members of the D.C. Council ("the Council") in their official capacities, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. Appellants claimed that the Act dilutes African-American voting strength in Ward Six and citywide in violation of § 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 ("Voting Rights Act"), 42 U.S.C. § 1973 (2003), and violates various provisions of D.C. law governing ward redistricting.

The Mayor and the Council moved separately to dismiss, or in the alternative, for summary judgment. The District Court first dismissed the complaint against the Council, holding that they are entitled to legislative immunity from suit in connection with their "legitimate legislative activity" in drafting and adopting the Act. The court then dismissed the Voting Rights Act counts of the complaint against the Mayor for failure to state a claim, and dismissed the pendent D.C. law claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367. Appellants challenge these rulings on appeal, renewing their Voting Rights Act and D.C. law claims solely as to Wards Three and Six and alleging, for the first time, that the Act racially gerrymanders ward boundaries in violation of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments.

We affirm the judgment of the District Court. We do so, however, on different grounds than those relied on by the District Court. We hold that, although it was error for the District Court to dismiss the Voting Rights Act counts of the complaint for failure to state a claim, the Mayor is nonetheless entitled to summary judgment on those counts on the record before us. Appellants have made no showing that minority voters in the relevant wards are politically cohesive or that the wards are characterized by racially polarized voting. They therefore fail to establish a triable issue as to at least two of the three conditions essential to a prima facie case of vote dilution under § 2. We decline to reach appellants' Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendment claims, which were not raised before the District Court and were therefore waived. Having resolved the federal claims in the Mayor's favor, we affirm the District Court's dismissal of the pendent D.C. law claims against him. Finally, we dismiss appellants' claims against the Council for lack of a substantial federal question. It is undisputed that appellants' federal claims against the Mayor and the Council are identical. The merits of these claims having been resolved dispositively against appellants, there remains no federal question requiring decision. We therefore dismiss the suit against the Council without addressing their assertion of legislative immunity.

I. BACKGROUND

The District of Columbia is governed in part by a popularly elected mayor and a popularly elected Council, the latter being composed of five members elected at large and eight members elected from single-member wards. See D.C.CODE §§ 1-204.01 et seq., 1-204.21 et seq. (2001). D.C. law requires that the Council, by act after public hearing, adjust the boundaries of the city's eight electoral wards as necessary following each decennial census. D.C.CODE § 1-1011.01(a), (b) (2001). The resulting wards must be compact, contiguous, and approximately equal in population, and must conform to the greatest extent possible to census tract boundaries. See D.C.CODE § 1-1011.01(c), (e) (2001). The population of each ward must be within five percent of the mean ward population, "unless the deviation results from the limitations of census geography or from promotion of a rational public policy, including but not limited to respect for the political geography of the District, the natural geography of the District, neighborhood cohesiveness, or the development of compact and contiguous districts." D.C.CODE § 1-1011.01(f) (2001). D.C. law prohibits the adoption of any redistricting plan or amendment to a redistricting plan with the "purpose and effect of diluting the voting strength of minority citizens." D.C.CODE § 1-1001.01(g) (2001).

The 2000 census results revealed a marked disproportion in the population of the District's eight electoral wards, attributable to population growth in the western wards (Wards One, Two, and Three) and a corresponding decline in the population of the eastern wards (Wards Four, Five, Six, Seven, and Eight). See Compl. for Declaratory J. Ex. 8 (map based on U.S. Census Bureau data showing population changes from 1990 to 2000); see also District of Columbia Population by Single Race and Hispanic Origin by Ward-2000 (prepared by the D.C. Office of Planning/State Data Center from U.S. Census Bureau data) (hereinafter "Pre-Redistricting Ward Population By Race"), reprinted in Joint Appendix ("J.A.") C (First Am. Compl.App. 10).

In June of 2001, the Council adopted and the Mayor signed the Ward Redistricting Act, which adjusted the District's ward boundaries in light of the census results. After review by both houses of the U.S. Congress, the Act became law on October 2, 2001, and the ward boundary changes took effect on January 1, 2002. See D.C.CODE § 1-1041.03 (Supp.2003) (legislative history). The Act adjusted ward boundaries to bring the population of every ward to within five percent or less of the mean ward population. See June 19, 2001 Final Redistricting Summary Table, reprinted in J.A. C (First Am. Compl.App. 5). In so doing, the Act transferred several neighborhoods or portions of neighborhoods from one ward to another and altered the racial composition of several wards. See Sewell Chan, Proposed Lines Divide D.C. Residents, WASH. POST, May 7, 2001, at B2, reprinted in J.A. C (First Am. Compl.App. 3).

Of particular importance for this litigation, the Act transferred approximately 1,840 residents of the predominantly African-American neighborhood of Kingman Park from Ward Six, located on the west side of the Anacostia River, to Ward Seven, which otherwise is located completely on the east side of the River. This boundary change allegedly was recommended by the Ward Six redistricting task force, appointed in the spring of 2001 by Sharon Ambrose, the D.C. Council Member representing Ward Six. The Kingman Park transfer, in conjunction with other boundary changes, reduced the African-American proportion of the Ward Six population from 68.7% to 62.3%. Compare Pre-Redistricting Ward Population By Race, supra, with District of Columbia Population by Single Race and Hispanic Origin by Amended Plan H Ward-2000 (prepared by the D.C. Office of Planning/State Data Center from U.S. Census Bureau data) (hereinafter "Post-Redistricting Ward Population By Race"), reprinted in J.A. C (First Am. Compl.App. 10). The African-American proportion of the population in Ward Seven, into which the Kingman Park residents were moved, changed from 96.9% to 96.8%. See id.

The Act also moved a significant portion of the Chevy Chase neighborhood, located on the western side of Rock Creek Park, from Ward Three to Ward Four. Ward Four is considered by some to be "the heart of the city's upper- and middle-class black establishment," and, prior to redistricting, was located completely on the eastern side of Rock Creek Park. See Chan, supra, at B2. The African-American proportion of the Ward Three population was reduced from 6.3% to 5.1%. See Pre-Redistricting Ward Population By Race, supra, and Post-Redistricting Ward Population By Race, supra.

On December 27, 2001, five days before the new boundaries took effect, appellant KPCA brought suit against the members of the Council in their official capacities and the Mayor in his official capacity. On July 26, 2002, the complaint was amended to include appellant CCCA as a co-plaintiff. KPCA is an unincorporated neighborhood association established in the 1920s. It has approximately 100 active members, all of whom were registered voters of former Ward Six and appear now to be divided between Wards Five, Six, and Seven. See First Am. Compl. ¶ 4, reprinted in J.A. C; Tr. of Motions Hearing at 31, Kingman Park Civic Ass'n v. Williams (D.D.C. Aug. 13, 2002) (Civ. Action No. 01-2675) (hereinafter "Tr. of Motions Hearing"), reprinted in J.A. E. CCCA is a recently established unincorporated neighborhood association with less...

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