Georgia v. United States
411 U.S. 526 (1973)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Georgia v. United States, 411 U.S. 526 (1973)

Georgia v. United States

No. 72-75

Argued February 21-22, 1973

Decided May 7, 1973

411 U.S. 526

Syllabus

On November 5, 1971, the State of Georgia submitted to the Attorney General for consideration under § 5 of the Voting Rights Act its 1971 House reapportionment plan. Two weeks later, the Attorney General requested additional information, which was received on January 6, 1972. On March 3, the Attorney General, after citing the combination, inter alia, of multi-member districts, majority runoff elections, and numbered posts, objected to the plan, being unable to conclude that it did not have a discriminatory racial effect on voting. The state legislature then enacted its superseding 1972 plan, which was submitted on March 15 and rejected by the Attorney General on March 24 as not overcoming previous objections. The United States brought this suit to enjoin the holding of elections under the 1972 plan after the legislature decided against a new reapportionment. A three-judge District Court held that the 1972 plan came under § 5 of the Act, and issued an injunction.

Held:

1. Georgia's 1972 reapportionment changes, which have the potential for diluting Negro voting power, are "standards, practices, or procedures with respect to voting" within the meaning of § 5 of the Voting Rights Act, cf. Allen v. State Board of Elections,393 U. S. 544. Pp. 411 U. S. 531-535.

2. The Attorney General, applying a permissible regulation, placed the burden on Georgia as the submitting party to prove that the plan did not have a racially discriminatory purpose or effect on voting, and the State failed to meet that burden. Pp. 411 U. S. 536-539.

3. Georgia's claim that the Attorney General did not seasonably object to the 1971 plan may well be moot in view of his timely objection to the superseding 1972 plan, but, in any event, that claim lacks merit, as the Attorney General's regulation that the statutory 60-day period begins to run from the time that necessary information is furnished is reasonable, and comports with the Act. Pp. 411 U. S. 539-541.

4. Elections having been conducted under the 1972 plan under this Court's stay order, new elections are not required, but future

Page 411 U. S. 527

elections under that plan will be enjoined until a plan withstanding § 5 clearance procedures is submitted. P. 411 U. S. 541.

351 F.Supp. 444, affirmed and remanded.

STEWART, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which DOUGLAS, BRENNAN, MARSHALL, and BLACKMUN, JJ., joined. BURGER, C.J., filed an opinion concurring in the result, post, p. 411 U. S. 541. WHITE, J., filed a dissenting opinion in which POWELL and REHNQUIST, JJ., joined, post, p. 411 U. S. 542. POWELL, J., filed a dissenting opinion, post p. 411 U. S. 545.

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