Schaefer v. Thomson, Civ. No. 4717.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of Wyoming
Writing for the CourtPICKETT, Circuit , and KERR and DAUGHERTY
Citation251 F. Supp. 450
PartiesHarry H. SCHAEFER, Adrian W. Reynolds, Burton W. Marston, Patrick H. Meenan, Darlene Elliot, Ralph A. Urbigkit and Edwin H. Whitehead, Plaintiffs, v. Thyra THOMSON, as Secretary of State of the State of Wyoming, Thyra Thomson, Minnie A. Mitchell and Everett T. Copenhaver, as members of the Board of the State Board of Election Canvassers, and Clifford P. Hansen, as Governor of the State of Wyoming, Defendants. William H. Harrison, Kenneth Youtz, Wilbur Mead, Lewis F. Hanson and Carl Emerich, Intervenors.
Decision Date08 October 1965
Docket NumberCiv. No. 4717.

251 F. Supp. 450

Harry H. SCHAEFER, Adrian W. Reynolds, Burton W. Marston, Patrick H. Meenan, Darlene Elliot, Ralph A. Urbigkit and Edwin H. Whitehead, Plaintiffs,
v.
Thyra THOMSON, as Secretary of State of the State of Wyoming, Thyra Thomson, Minnie A. Mitchell and Everett T. Copenhaver, as members of the Board of the State Board of Election Canvassers, and Clifford P. Hansen, as Governor of the State of Wyoming, Defendants.

William H. Harrison, Kenneth Youtz, Wilbur Mead, Lewis F. Hanson and Carl Emerich, Intervenors.

Civ. No. 4717.

United States District Court D. Wyoming.

October 8, 1965.


251 F. Supp. 451

A. G. McClintock, Walter C. Urbigkit, Jr., and Maxwell E. Osborn, Cheyenne, Wyo., for plaintiffs.

John F. Raper, Atty. Gen. of State of Wyoming, and Dean W. Borthwick, Deputy Atty. Gen. of State of Wyoming, Cheyenne, Wyo., for defendants.

Paul B. Godfrey and Arthur Kline, Cheyenne, Wyo., for intervenors.

Before PICKETT, Circuit Judge, and KERR and DAUGHERTY, District Judges.

KERR, District Judge.

On November 23, 1964, this Court retained jurisdiction over this cause to afford injunctive and affirmative relief to the plaintiffs should "the Wyoming legislature fails to reapportion the state senate prior to the 1966 election * *".1 At the original hearing of this proceeding we were of the opinion that it is primarily the duty of the state legislature to establish constitutional representation in the Wyoming State Senate. Affirmative judicial relief, therefore, was held in abeyance in order to give the Wyoming State Legislature the opportunity to redistrict the state and to enact a valid reapportionment law consonant with the United States constitutional requirements. Though several apportionment bills were introduced at the 38th Session of the Wyoming State Legislature2 none was enacted into law.

Due to the failure of the Wyoming legislature to redistrict the state and to provide nearly equal representation in the state Senate on the basis of population, it is now incumbent upon this Court to reapportion the state Senate by judicial decree. Accordingly, on July 23, 1965, this Court ordered a Pre-trial Conference to be held on August 31, 1965. At said Pre-trial Conference all the exhibits were offered and received, and the Court heard the arguments of counsel in support of the proposed reapportionment plans. In considering this problem of apportioning the state Senate this Court has had the benefit of the carefully prepared memorandum briefs and statistical analyses. The parties agreed that no additional evidence was necessary for the disposition of this case, and that the Court may decide the case upon the record of the pre-trial conference.

We reiterate our previous opinion that the Wyoming Reapportionment Act of 1963 (Chapter 22, Session Laws of Wyoming, 1963) is not an invidious discrimination insofar as it provides for representation in the State House of Representatives and in that respect it does not violate the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Holding that the Wyoming Senate, as constituted under said Reapportionment Act, was an invidious discrimination against the voters of the state, it was also the judgment of this Court that Section 3, Article 3 of the Wyoming Constitution is not to be considered when determination is made of the reapportionment of the Wyoming State Senate. We adhere to our original finding "that the conditions and circumstances existing in the state of Wyoming are such that the provisions of Section 3, Article 3 of the Wyoming Constitution, which constitutes each county an election district and requires that each county be represented by at least one senator, is ineffective and is not to be considered when determination is made of the reapportionment of the Wyoming state senate".

We are confronted, therefore, with the problem of reforming the senatorial districts to comply with the one-man-one vote constitutional standard, and to take care of the transition from the present unconstitutionally composed Senate to the corrected one.

251 F. Supp. 452

Under the Wyoming Reapportionment Act of 1963, each county in the state has one senator, except for the two largest counties, Laramie and Natrona, each of which is represented by two senators. This results in a representation in those counties of one senator for approximately 30,000 inhabitants, whereas one senator in the smallest county represents 3,062. The only solution to this distorted representation is to rearrange the Wyoming constitutional scheme of districting. Combining some of the small over-represented counties into one district increases the number of inhabitants in the districts and reduces the disparity in representation.

A membership of thirty senators is the constitutional maximum as determined by the present membership in the state House of Representatives.3 The parties agreed that the composition of the Senate should not exceed thirty members. We acquiesce.

To protect the electorate's constitutional right to equal representation in both houses of the legislature, we hereby allot one Senator per 11,500 inhabitants or major fraction thereof, and establish seventeen senatorial election districts. Whenever possible, we have preserved the established county boundaries, and have deviated therefrom only when necessary to satisfy the one-man-one-vote mandate of the equal protection clause of the federal constitution. We have combined only contiguous counties. (See Appendix "A") Applying the formula of one Senator for every 11,500 inhabitants or major fraction thereof, the state is hereby divided into the following districts and the Senators are apportioned as follows:4

 Counties Senatorial Total population Number
                 Districts of of
                 District Senators
                -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                Albany .......................... 1 21,290 2
                Big Horn ........................ 1 11,898 1
                Campbell and Johnson ............ 1 11,336 1
                Carbon .......................... 1 14,937 1
                Converse and Niobrara ........... 1 10,116 1
                Crook and Weston ................ 1 12,620 1
                Fremont and Hot Springs ......... 1 32,533 3
                Goshen .......................... 1 11,941 1
                Laramie ......................... 1 60,149 5
                Natrona ......................... 1 49,623 4
                Park ............................ 1 16,874 2
                Platte .......................... 1 7,195 1
                Sheridan ........................ 1 18,989 2
                Sublette, Teton and
                 North Lincoln ................. 1 11,245 1
                Sweetwater ...................... 1 17,920 2
                Uinta and South Lincoln ......... 1 12,097 1
                Washakie ........................ 1 8,883 1
                 ___ _______ ___
                 17 329,646 30
                
251 F. Supp. 453

It is only after careful consideration and serious study that we have concluded that it is necessary to divide Lincoln County. The western and southwestern part of the State of Wyoming is not without its difficulties. There appears to be no way to...

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17 practice notes
  • Whitcomb v. Chavis, No. 92
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 7, 1971
    ...represents an adherence to Fortson. Similarly, Harrison summarily affirmed a District Court reapportionment plan, Schaefer v. Thomson, 251 F.Supp. 450 (Wyo.1965), where multi-member districts in Wyoming were held necessary to keep county splitting at a minimum. Burns vacated a three-judge c......
  • Buckley v. Valeo, Nos. 75-436 and 75-437
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • January 30, 1976
    ...549, 550-551, 92 S.Ct. 656, 658, 30 L.Ed.2d 704 (1972). See Ryan v. Tinsley, 316 F.2d 430, 431-432 (CA10 1963); Schaefer v. Thomson, 251 F.Supp. 450, 453 (Wyo.1965), aff'd sub nom. Harrison v. Schaeffer, 383 U.S. 269, 86 S.Ct. 929, 15 L.Ed.2d 750 (1966). Cf. City of Richmond v. United State......
  • Jackman v. Bodine
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New Jersey)
    • March 2, 1970
    ...739, n. 32, 84 S.Ct. 1459, 12 L.Ed.2d at 643 and at 649, n. 32), and in Harrison the Court affirmed without opinion Schaefer v. Thomson, 251 F.Supp. 450 (D.Wyo.1965), which had upheld an apportionment with a ratio of 2.08 to 1. Swann noted that in neither case was the ratio issue raised or ......
  • Minnesota State Senate v. Beens 8212 1024, 71 8212 1145, SIXTY-SEVENTH
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • April 29, 1972
    ...924, 936, 937 (M.D.Ala.1972) (house reduced from 106 to 105 so as to have three times the number of senate seats); Schaefer v. Thomson, 251 F.Supp. 450 (D.Wyo.1965), aff'd, Harrison v. Schaefer, 383 U.S. 269, 86 S.Ct. 929, 15 L.Ed.2d 750 (1966) (senate increased from 25 to 30 on agreement o......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
17 cases
  • Whitcomb v. Chavis, No. 92
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 7, 1971
    ...represents an adherence to Fortson. Similarly, Harrison summarily affirmed a District Court reapportionment plan, Schaefer v. Thomson, 251 F.Supp. 450 (Wyo.1965), where multi-member districts in Wyoming were held necessary to keep county splitting at a minimum. Burns vacated a three-judge c......
  • Buckley v. Valeo, Nos. 75-436 and 75-437
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • January 30, 1976
    ...549, 550-551, 92 S.Ct. 656, 658, 30 L.Ed.2d 704 (1972). See Ryan v. Tinsley, 316 F.2d 430, 431-432 (CA10 1963); Schaefer v. Thomson, 251 F.Supp. 450, 453 (Wyo.1965), aff'd sub nom. Harrison v. Schaeffer, 383 U.S. 269, 86 S.Ct. 929, 15 L.Ed.2d 750 (1966). Cf. City of Richmond v. United State......
  • Jackman v. Bodine
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New Jersey)
    • March 2, 1970
    ...739, n. 32, 84 S.Ct. 1459, 12 L.Ed.2d at 643 and at 649, n. 32), and in Harrison the Court affirmed without opinion Schaefer v. Thomson, 251 F.Supp. 450 (D.Wyo.1965), which had upheld an apportionment with a ratio of 2.08 to 1. Swann noted that in neither case was the ratio issue raised or ......
  • Minnesota State Senate v. Beens 8212 1024, 71 8212 1145, SIXTY-SEVENTH
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • April 29, 1972
    ...924, 936, 937 (M.D.Ala.1972) (house reduced from 106 to 105 so as to have three times the number of senate seats); Schaefer v. Thomson, 251 F.Supp. 450 (D.Wyo.1965), aff'd, Harrison v. Schaefer, 383 U.S. 269, 86 S.Ct. 929, 15 L.Ed.2d 750 (1966) (senate increased from 25 to 30 on agreement o......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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