|League of United Latin American Citizens v. Perry|
|Argued March 1, 2006|
Decided June 28, 2006
|Full case name||League of United Latin American Citizens, et al. v. Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, et al.|
|Citations||548 U.S. 399 ( more )|
|Prior history||Denying relief, Session v. Perry, 298 F. Supp. 2d 451 (E.D. Tex. 2004); vacating and remanding for reconsideration, Henderson v. Perry, 125 S. Ct. 351 (2004) (mem.); denying relief, 399 F. Supp. 2d 756 (E.D. Tex. 2005).|
|Subsequent history||Remedial order, League of United Latin American Citizens v. Perry, 457 F. Supp. 2d 716 (E.D. Tex. 2006).|
|Texas's redrawing of District 23’s lines amounts to vote dilution violative of §2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, while other newly created districts remain constitutional. The judgment is affirmed in part, reversed in part, vacated in part, and remanded.|
|Majority||Kennedy (in part), joined by Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg, Breyer (Parts II-A & III); Roberts, Alito (Parts I & IV); Souter, Ginsburg (Part II-D)|
|Concur/dissent||Roberts, joined by Alito|
|Concur/dissent||Stevens, joined by Breyer (Parts I, II)|
|Concur/dissent||Scalia, joined by Thomas; Roberts, Alito (Part III)|
|Concur/dissent||Souter, joined by Ginsburg|
|Voting Rights Act of 1965, U.S. Constitution Amendment XV|
League of United Latin American Citizens v. Perry, 548 U.S. 399 (2006),is a Supreme Court of the United States case in which the Court ruled that only District 23 of the 2003 Texas redistricting violated the Voting Rights Act. The Court refused to throw out the entire plan, ruling that the plaintiffs failed to state a sufficient claim of partisan gerrymandering.
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the federal judiciary of the United States. Established pursuant to Article III of the U.S. Constitution in 1789, it has original jurisdiction over a narrow range of cases, including suits between two or more states and those involving ambassadors. It also has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all federal court and state court cases that involve a point of federal constitutional or statutory law. The Court has the power of judicial review, the ability to invalidate a statute for violating a provision of the Constitution or an executive act for being unlawful. However, it may act only within the context of a case in an area of law over which it has jurisdiction. The court may decide cases having political overtones, but it has ruled that it does not have power to decide nonjusticiable political questions. Each year it agrees to hear about one hundred to one hundred fifty of the more than seven thousand cases that it is asked to review.
The 2003 Texas redistricting refers to a controversial mid-decade state plan that defined new Congressional districts. In the 2004 elections, this redistricting supported the Republicans taking a majority of Texas's House seats for the first time since Reconstruction. Opponents challenged the plan in three suits, combined when the case went to the United States Supreme Court in League of United Latin American Citizens v. Perry (2006).
Gerrymandering is a practice intended to establish a political advantage for a particular party or group by manipulating district boundaries. The resulting district is known as a gerrymander ; however, that word is also a verb for the process. The term gerrymandering has negative connotations. Two principal tactics are used in gerrymandering: "cracking" and "packing". A third tactic, shown in the top-left diagram in the graphic to the right, is homogenization of all districts.
The opinion requires lawmakers to adjust Congressional district boundaries in comport with the Court's ruling, though the ruling does not threaten Republican gains as a result of the redistricting in Texas.The Court also declined to resolve a dispute over whether partisan gerrymandering claims present nonjusticiable political questions.
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the Federal Government of the United States. The legislature consists of two chambers: the House of Representatives and the Senate.
The Republican Party, also referred to as the GOP, is one of the two major political parties in the United States; the other is its historic rival, the Democratic Party.
After the 2000 United States Census Democrats and Republicans in the Texas Legislature could not reach an agreement on redistricting and a new plan had to be drawn by a federal three-judge court made up of U.S. Circuit Judge Patrick Higginbotham, and U.S. District Judges John H. Hannah, Jr. and T. John Ward.When Tom DeLay and his Texans for a Republican Majority helped Republicans win total control of the state in the 2002 election, however, they sought to replace the court’s redistricting plan. Democratic lawmakers known as the Killer Ds and the Texas Eleven fled the state to deny the legislature of a quorum, but the clerk of the Texas House of Representatives issued arrest warrants for the legislators and DeLay had federal agencies track their movements. Governor Rick Perry called three special sessions and ultimately passed the new plan. Career staff at the United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division advised the plan failed preclearance under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 but were overruled by acting Assistant Attorney General Bradley Schlozman.
The Twenty-second United States Census, known as Census 2000 and conducted by the Census Bureau, determined the resident population of the United States on April 1, 2000, to be 281,421,906, an increase of 13.2% over the 248,709,873 people enumerated during the 1990 Census. This was the twenty-second federal census and was at the time the largest civilly administered peacetime effort in the United States.
The Legislature of the state of Texas is the state legislature of Texas. The legislature is a bicameral body composed of a 31-member Senate and a 150-member House of Representatives. The state legislature meets at the Capitol in Austin. It is a powerful arm of the Texas government not only because of its power of the purse to control and direct the activities of state government and the strong constitutional connections between it and the Lieutenant Governor of Texas, but also due to Texas's plural executive.
Redistricting is the process of drawing electoral district boundaries in the United States. A congressional act passed in 1967 requires that representatives be elected from single-member districts, except when a state has a single representative, in which case one state-wide at-large election be held.
At the November 2004 election, Republican seats increased from fifteen to twenty-one, with even Martin Frost, the third-ranking Democrat in the House, losing his seat.Private plaintiffs sued, alleging any mid-decade redistricting was illegal, the plan was an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander, and it was in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. On January 6, 2004, a three-judge district court now made up of Circuit Judge Higgenbotham, and District Judges Ward and Lee H. Rosenthal rejected all the plaintiffs’ claims, with Judge Ward concurring in part and dissenting in part. On October 18, 2004, however, the Supreme Court vacated and remanded the case after its new plurality decision in Vieth v. Jubelirer readdressed the political question doctrine. On June 9, 2005, the three-judge court rejected all the plaintiffs’ claims again, with Judge Ward writing a special concurrence.
Jonas Martin Frost III is an American politician, who was the Democratic representative to the U.S. House of Representatives for Texas's 24th congressional district from 1979 to 2005.
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Plaintiffs appealed directly to the U.S. Supreme Court, where two hours of argument were heard on March 1, 2006, with Paul M. Smith appearing for the statewide plaintiffs, Nina Perales of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund appearing for the District 23 plaintiffs, Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz appearing for the state,and then-Deputy U.S. Solicitor General Gregory G. Garre appearing as a friend of Texas.
Paul March Smith is an American attorney who has argued many important cases, most notably Lawrence v. Texas and has argued 21 cases before the Supreme Court of the United States. In January 2017, he joined the faculty at Georgetown University Law Center, and also the Campaign Legal Center in Washington, D.C., as Vice President of Litigation and Strategy. Until 2017, he was a partner at Jenner & Block's Washington, DC office where he served as co-chair of the firm's Election Law and Redistricting practice.
The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) is a national non-profit civil rights organization formed in 1968 to protect the rights of Latinos in the United States. Founded in San Antonio, Texas, it is currently headquartered in Los Angeles, California and maintains regional offices in Sacramento, San Antonio, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.
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On June 28, 2006, the second to last day of the term, a highly fractured Court rejected all of the plaintiffs’ claims except for the vote dilution claim in Texas's 23rd congressional district, producing six different opinions spanning 121 pages of the United States Reports.
Texas's 23rd congressional district stretches across the southwestern portion of Texas. It is a predominantly Hispanic district and its current Representative is Republican Will Hurd.
The United States Reports are the official record of the rulings, orders, case tables, in alphabetical order both by the name of the petitioner and by the name of the respondent, and other proceedings of the Supreme Court of the United States. United States Reports, once printed and bound, are the final version of court opinions and cannot be changed. Opinions of the court in each case are prepended with a headnote prepared by the Reporter of Decisions, and any concurring or dissenting opinions are published sequentially. The Court's Publication Office oversees the binding and publication of the volumes of United States Reports, although the actual printing, binding, and publication are performed by private firms under contract with the United States Government Publishing Office.
Justice Anthony Kennedy, joined by Justices David Souter and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, rejected plaintiff’s claim that the statewide plan was an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander.Chief Justice John G. Roberts and Samuel Alito did not join that part of the opinion but concurred in the judgment, while noting that they were “taking no position” on if political gerrymandering claims were even judicable. Justice Antonin Scalia, joined by Clarence Thomas, also concurred in the judgment but felt that the case should be dismissed because political gerrymandering claims are not justiciable. Justice John Paul Stevens, joined by Stephen Breyer, dissented, arguing that because the plan’s “sole intent” was explicitly partisan, it violated the Equal Protection Clause and that Republicans had created “their own impermissible stranglehold on political power.”
The Court, now of Justice Kennedy, joined by Justices Souter, Ginsburg, Stevens and Breyer, applied Thornburg v. Gingles' (1986) to find vote dilution in District 23 in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.
By a 5-4 vote the majority ruled that:
Chief Justice Roberts, joined by Alito dissented.Justice Scalia also dissented and, joined by the Chief Justice and Justices Thomas and Alito, argued that District 23 violated neither the Voting Rights Act nor the Equal Protection Clause.
Justice Kennedy, joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito, found that the plan did not crack Texas's 24th congressional district in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.Justice Scalia, joined by Thomas, concurred in that judgment but felt the case should be dismissed as non-judicable. Justice Souter, joined by Ginsburg, dissented, arguing to vacate and remand. Justice Stevens dissented, arguing to reverse.
The majority of the court noted that old district 24 had three separate communities to begin with (Whites, Blacks, Latino) and Martin Frost (a White Democrat) never having been challenged in 22 years in a primary made it impossible to dispute the state legislative history that it was specifically created for a White Democrat.
On August 4, 2006, the three-judge court made its remedial order.The three-judge court adjusted the lines of the 23rd and four other districts — the 28th (represented by Democrat Henry Cuellar), 25th (Democrat Lloyd Doggett), 15th (Democrat Ruben Hinojosa) and 21st (Republican Lamar S. Smith) — all of which held new primary elections on November 7. Cuellar, Doggett, Hinojosa, and Smith were all reelected, while Henry Bonilla, the Republican representative for the 23rd District, was defeated by Democrat Ciro Rodriguez in a newly 61% Latino district.
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Vieth v. Jubelirer, 541 U.S. 267 (2004), was a case heard before the United States Supreme Court. The ruling was significant in the area of partisan redistricting and political gerrymandering. The court, in a plurality decision by Justice Antonin Scalia and joined by Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Clarence Thomas, with Justice Anthony Kennedy concurring in the judgment, upheld the ruling of the District Court in favor of the appellees that the alleged political gerrymandering was not unconstitutional.
Davis v. Federal Election Commission, 554 U.S. 724 (2008), is a decision by the United States Supreme Court, which held that Sections 319(a) and (b) of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 unconstitutionally infringed on a candidate's First Amendment rights.
Davis v. Bandemer, 478 U.S. 109 (1986), is a case in which the United States Supreme Court held that claims of partisan gerrymandering were justiciable, but failed to agree on a clear standard for the judicial review of the class of claims of a political nature to which such cases belong. The decision was later limited with respect to many of the elements directly involving issues of redistricting and political gerrymandering, but was somewhat broadened with respect to less significant ancillary procedural issues. Democrats had won 51.9% of the votes, but only 43/100 seats. Democrats sue on basis of one man one vote, however, California democrats supported Indiana GOP plan.
Bush v. Vera, 517 U.S. 952 (1996), is a United States Supreme Court case concerning racial gerrymandering, where racial minority majority-electoral districts were created during Texas' 1990 redistricting to increase minority Congressional representation. The Supreme Court, in a plurality opinion, held that race was the predominant factor in the creation of the districts and that under a strict scrutiny standard the three districts were not narrowly tailored to further a compelling governmental interest.
Thornburg v. Gingles, 478 U.S. 30 (1986), was a United States Supreme Court case in which a unanimous Court found that "the legacy of official discrimination ... acted in concert with the multimember districting scheme to impair the ability of ... cohesive groups of black voters to participate equally in the political process and to elect candidates of their choice." The ruling invalidated districts of the North Carolina General Assembly and led to more single-member districts in state legislatures.
Nevada Commission on Ethics v. Carrigan, 564 U.S. 117 (2011), was a Supreme Court of the United States decision in which the Court held that the Nevada Ethics in Government Law, which required government officials recuse in cases involving a conflict of interest, is not unconstitutionally overbroad. Specifically, the law requires government officials to recuse themselves from advocating for and voting on the passage of legislation if private commitments to the interests of others materially affect the official's judgment. Under the terms of this law, the Nevada Commission on Ethics censured city councilman Michael Carrigan for voting on a land project for which his campaign manager was a paid consultant. Carrigan challenged his censure in court and the Nevada Supreme Court ruled in his favor, claiming that casting his vote was protected speech. The Supreme Court reversed, ruling that voting by a public official on a public matter is not First Amendment speech.
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