Reynolds v. Sims Vann v. Baggett Connell v. Baggett, Nos. 23

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtWARREN
Citation12 L.Ed.2d 506,84 S.Ct. 1362,377 U.S. 533
PartiesB. A. REYNOLDS, etc., et al., Appellants, v. M. O. SIMS et al. David J. VANN and Robert S. Vance, Appellants, v. Agnes BAGGETT, Secretary of State of Alabama et al. John W. McCONNELL, Jr., et al., Appellants, v. Agnes BAGGETT, Secretary of State of Alabama et al
Docket Number27,Nos. 23,41
Decision Date15 June 1964

377 U.S. 533
84 S.Ct. 1362
12 L.Ed.2d 506
B. A. REYNOLDS, etc., et al., Appellants,

v.

M. O. SIMS et al. David J. VANN and Robert S. Vance, Appellants, v. Agnes BAGGETT, Secretary of State of Alabama et al. John W. McCONNELL, Jr., et al., Appellants, v. Agnes BAGGETT, Secretary of State of Alabama et al.

Nos. 23, 27, 41.
Argued Nv. 13, 1963.
Decided June 15, 1964.
Rehearing Denied Oct. 12, 1964.

See 85 S.Ct. 12, 13.

[Syllabus from pages 533-535 intentionally omitted]

Page 536

W. McLean Pitts, Selma, Ala., for appellants in No. 23 and appellees in Nos. 27 and 41.

Richmond M. Flowers, Atty. Gen. of Alabama, for appellee Richmond M. Flowers.

Charles Morgan, Jr., Birmingham, Ala., for appellees in No. 23.

David J. Vann, Birmingham, Ala., for appellants in No. 27.

John W. McConnell, Jr., Mobile, Ala., for appellants in No. 41.

Archibald Cox, Sol. Gen. for the United States, as amicus curiae, by special leave of Court.

Mr. Chief Justice WARREN delivered the opinion of the Court.

Involved in these cases are an appeal and two cross-appeals from a decision of the Federal District Court for the Middle District of Alabama holding invalid, under

Page 537

the Equal Protection Clause of the Federal Constitution, the existing and two legislative proposed plans for the apportionment of seats in the two houses of the Alabama Legislature, and ordering into effect a temporary reapportionment plan comprised of parts of the proposed but judicially disapproved measures.1

I.

On August 26, 1961, the original plaintiffs (appellees in No. 23), residents, taxpayers and voters of Jefferson County, Alabama, filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, in their own behalf and on behalf of all similarly situated Alabama voters, challenging the apportionment of the Alabama Legislature. Defendants below (appellants in No. 23), sued in their representative capacities, were various state and political party officials charged with the performance of certain duties in connection with state elections.2 The complaint alleged a deprivation of rights under the Alabama Constitution and under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and asserted that the District Court had jurisdiction under provisions of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1988, as well as under 28 U.S.C. § 1343(3).

The complaint stated that the Alabama Legislature was composed of a Senate of 35 members and a House of Representatives of 106 members. It set out relevant portions of the 1901 Alabama Constitution, which prescribe the number of members of the two bodies of the

Page 538

State Legislature and the method of apportioning the seats among the State's 67 counties, and provide as follows:

Art. IV, Sec. 50. 'The legislature shall consist of not more than thirty-five senators, and not more than one hundred and five members of the house of representatives, to be apportioned among the several districts and counties, as prescribed in this Constitution; provided that in addition to the above number of representatives, each new county hereafter created shall be entitled to one representative.'

Art. IX, Sec. 197. 'The whole number of senators shall be not less than one-fourth or more than one-third of the whole number of representatives.'

Art. IX, Sec. 198. 'The house of representatives shall consist of not more than one hundred and five members, unless new counties shall be created, in which event each new county shall be entitled to one representative. The members of the house of representatives shall be apportioned by the legislature among the several counties of the state, according to the number of inhabitants in them, respectively, as ascertained by the decennial census of the United States, which apportionment, when made, shall not be subject to alteration until the next session of the legislature after the next decennial census of the United States shall have been taken.'

Art. IX, Sec. 199. 'It shall be the duty of the legislature at its first session after the taking of the decennial census of the United States in the year nineteen hundred and ten, and after each subsequent decennial census, to fix by law the number of representatives and apportion them among the several counties of the state, according to the number of inhabitants in them, respectively; provided, that

Page 539

each county shall be entitled to at least one representative.'

Art. IX, Sec. 200. 'It shall be the duty of the legislature at its first session after taking of the decennial census of the United States in the year nineteen hundred and ten, and after each subsequent decennial census, to fix by law the number of senators, and to divide the state into as many senatorial districts as there are senators, which districts shall be as nearly equal to each other in the number of inhabitants as may be, and each shall be entitled to one senator, and no more; and such districts, when formed, shall not be changed until the next apportioning session of the legislature, after the next decennial census of the United States shall have been taken; provided, that counties created after the next preceding apportioning session of the legislature may be attached to senatorial districts. No county shall be divided between two districts, and no district shall be made up of two or more counties not contiguous to each other.'

Art. XVIII, Sec. 284. '* * * Representation in the legislature shall be based upon population, and such basis of representation shall not be changed by constitutional amendments.'

The maximum size of the Alabama House was increased from 105 to 106 with the creation of a new county in 1903, pursuant to the constitutional provision which states that, in addition to the prescribed 105 House seats, each county thereafter created shall be entitled to one representative. Article IX, §§ 202 and 203, of the Alabama Constitution established precisely the boundaries of the State's senatorial and representative districts until the enactment of a new reapportionment plan by the legislature. These 1901 constitutional provisions, specifically describing the composition of the senatorial

Page 540

districts and detailing the number of House seats allocated to each county, were periodically enacted as statutory measures by the Alabama Legislature, as modified only by the creation of an additional county in 1903, and provided the plan of legislative apportionment existing at the time this litigation was commenced.3

Plaintiffs below alleged that the last apportionment of the Alabama Legislature was based on the 1900 federal census, despite the requirement of the State Constitution that the legislature be reapportioned decennially. They asserted that, since the population growth in the State from 1900 to 1960 had been uneven, Jefferson and other counties were now victims of serious discrimination with respect to the allocation of legislative representation. As a result of the failure of the legislature to reapportion itself, plaintiffs asserted, they were denied 'equal suffrage in free and equal elections * * * and the equal protection of the laws' in violation of the Alabama Constitution and the Fourteenth Amendment to the Federal Constitution. The complaint asserted that plaintiffs had no other adequate remedy, and that they had exhausted all forms of relief other than that available through the federal courts. They alleged that the Alabama Legislature had established a pattern of prolonged inaction from 1911 to the present which 'clearly demonstrates that no reapportionment * * * shall be effected'; that representation at any future constitutional convention would be established by the legislature, making it unlikely that the membership of any such convention would be fairly representative; and that, while the Alabama Supreme Court had found that the legislature had not complied with the State Constitution in failing to reapportion according

Page 541

to population decennially,4 that court had nevertheless indicated that it would not interfere with matters of legislative reapportionment.5

Plaintiffs requested that a three-judge District Court be convened.6 With respect to relief, they sought a declaration that the existing constitutional and statutory provisions, establishing the present apportionment of seats in the Alabama Legislature, were unconstitutional under the Alabama and Federal Constitutions, and an injunction against the holding of future elections for legislators until the legislature reapportioned itself in accordance with the State Constitution. They further requested the issuance of a mandatory injunction, effective until such time as the legislature properly reapportioned, requiring the conducting of the 1962 election for legislators at large over the entire State, and any other relief which 'may seem just, equitable and proper.'

A three-judge District Court was convened, and three groups of voters, taxpayers and residents of Jefferson, Mobile, and Etowah Counties were permitted to inter-

Page 542

vene in the action as intervenor-plaintiffs. Two of the groups are cross-appellants in Nos. 27 and 41. With minor exceptions, all of the intervenors adopted the allegations of and sought the same relief as the original plaintiffs.

On March 29, 1962, just three days after this Court had decided Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186, 82 S.Ct. 691, 7 L.Ed.2d 663 plaintiffs moved for a preliminary injunction requiring defendants to conduct at large the May 1962 Democratic primary election and the November 1962 general election for members of the Alabama Legislature. The District Court set the motion for hearing in an order stating its tentative views that an injunction was not required before the May 1962 primary election to protect plaintiffs' constitutional rights, and that the Court should take no action which was not 'absolutely essential' for the protection of the asserted...

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2769 practice notes
  • Harris v. Ariz. Indep. Redistricting Comm'n, No. CV–12–894–PHX–ROS–NVW–RRC.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. District of Arizona
    • April 29, 2014
    ...that divergences must be “based on legitimate considerations incident to the effectuation of a rational state policy.” Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533, 579, 84 S.Ct. 1362, 12 L.Ed.2d 506 (1964). The majority of the overpopulated districts in the map drawn by the Commission were Republican-le......
  • Mancuso v. Taft, Civ. A. No. 4751.
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    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Rhode Island
    • April 17, 1972
    ...because it is the citizen's access to participation in the political processes of his State's legislative bodies, Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533, 84 S.Ct. 1362, 12 L.Ed.2d 506 (1964), and thus the means for preservation of all other rights, the right to run for public office and engage in p......
  • Mancuso v. Taft, No. 72-1180.
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    • U.S. Court of Appeals — First Circuit
    • March 20, 1973
    ...standard of review", citing McDonald v. Board of Election, 394 U.S. 802, 89 S.Ct. 1404, 22 L.Ed.2d 739 (1969) with Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533, 562, 84 S.Ct. 1362, 1381, 12 L.Ed.2d 506 (1964) "Especially since the right to exercise the franchise in a free and unimpaired manner is preserv......
  • Buckley v. Valeo, No. 75-1061
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • August 29, 1975
    ...principle of equality in political suffrage rights has the constitutional footing of the "one man, one vote" principle. Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533, 562, 84 S.Ct. 1362, 12 L.Ed.2d 506 (1964); Wesberry v. Sanders, 376 U.S. 1, 84 S.Ct. 526, 11 L.Ed.2d 481 It would be strange indeed if, by ......
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2717 cases
  • Harris v. Ariz. Indep. Redistricting Comm'n, No. CV–12–894–PHX–ROS–NVW–RRC.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. District of Arizona
    • April 29, 2014
    ...that divergences must be “based on legitimate considerations incident to the effectuation of a rational state policy.” Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533, 579, 84 S.Ct. 1362, 12 L.Ed.2d 506 (1964). The majority of the overpopulated districts in the map drawn by the Commission were Republican-le......
  • Mancuso v. Taft, Civ. A. No. 4751.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Rhode Island
    • April 17, 1972
    ...because it is the citizen's access to participation in the political processes of his State's legislative bodies, Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533, 84 S.Ct. 1362, 12 L.Ed.2d 506 (1964), and thus the means for preservation of all other rights, the right to run for public office and engage in p......
  • Mancuso v. Taft, No. 72-1180.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — First Circuit
    • March 20, 1973
    ...standard of review", citing McDonald v. Board of Election, 394 U.S. 802, 89 S.Ct. 1404, 22 L.Ed.2d 739 (1969) with Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533, 562, 84 S.Ct. 1362, 1381, 12 L.Ed.2d 506 (1964) "Especially since the right to exercise the franchise in a free and unimpaired manner is preserv......
  • Buckley v. Valeo, No. 75-1061
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • August 29, 1975
    ...principle of equality in political suffrage rights has the constitutional footing of the "one man, one vote" principle. Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533, 562, 84 S.Ct. 1362, 12 L.Ed.2d 506 (1964); Wesberry v. Sanders, 376 U.S. 1, 84 S.Ct. 526, 11 L.Ed.2d 481 It would be strange indeed if, by ......
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    • United States
    • American Criminal Law Review Nbr. 58-3, July 2021
    • July 1, 2021
    ...federal law enforcement priority.”237 On October 227. DOJ ELECTION PROSECUTION MANUAL, supra note 1, at 20; see Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533, 554–55 (1964). 228. See DOJ ELECTION PROSECUTION MANUAL, supra note 1, at 20; see also United States v. Wadena, 152 F.3d 831, 843 (8th Cir. 1998); ......
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    ...art. II, [section] 2. (249.) N. MAR. I. CONST, art. II, [section] 2(a). (250.) Rayphand, 95 F. Supp. 2d at 1135 (citing Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533 (251.) Id. at 1136. (252.) Id. at 1138. The Rayphand court did not place primary reliance on the impracticable-and-anomalous test. It explai......
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    ...Urban Disadvantage and State Law-making , 77 La. L. Rev. 287, 291 (2016) [hereinafter Diller, Part 1 ]. 15. See, e.g. , Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533, 547-51(1964) (holding that state legislative and congressional districts have to abide by the one-person, one-vote rule). 16. Diller, Part ......
  • Do Multimember Districts Lead to Free‐Riding?
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    • Legislative Studies Quarterly Nbr. 32-4, November 2007
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    ...and Francesco Trebbi. 2003. “Electoral Rules andCorruption.” Journal of European Economic Association 1: 958–89.Reynolds v. Sims. 1964. 377 U.S. 533.Richardson, Lilliard E., Jr., Brian Russell, and Christopher A. Cooper. 2004. “Legisla-tive Representation in a Single-Member versus Multiple-......
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