Ely v. Klahr - 403 U.S. 108 (1971)
U.S. Supreme Court
Ely v. Klahr, 403 U.S. 108 (1971)
Ely v. Klahr
Argued March 23, 1971
Decided June 7, 1971
403 U.S. 108
Appellant, in this suit filed in 1964 challenging the constitutionality of Arizona's state legislative districting laws, attacked the State's third attempt to enact a valid apportionment plan. The District Court found the plan constitutionally deficient in several respects, but, because of the proximity of the 1970 elections (which would be the last held before the 1970 census data became available for new plans) and because the court concluded that the main difficulty was the State's large population increase since the last census, upheld the legislature's plan as the least unsatisfactory alternative (including appellant's plan). In its order, the court "assume[d] that the Arizona Legislature will, by November 1, 1971, enact a valid plan of reapportionment," but that, "[u]pon failure of the Legislature so to do, any party to this action may apply to the court for appropriate relief." Though the 1970 general election was held on the basis of the state law as thus upheld, appellant contends that the District Court should now adopt an apportionment plan which would be displaced only if the legislature adopts a valid plan.
Held: The District Court did not err in affording the legislature a reasonable time to enact a constitutionally adequate apportionment plan for the 1972 elections, on the basis of the 1970 census figures which will presumably be available, that court being in the best position to know if the November 1 deadline will be adequate to facilitate its consideration of the legislative plan and to enable it to prepare its own plan if the official version is not constitutional. Pp. 403 U. S. 114-115.
313 F.Supp. 148, affirmed.
WHITE, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BURGER, C.J., and BRENNAN, STEWART, MARSHALL, and BLACKMUN, JJ., joined. DOUGLAS, J., filed a concurring opinion, in which BLACK, J., joined, post, p. 403 U. S. 116. HARLAN, J., filed a statement concurring in the result, post, p. 403 U. S. 123.