UVALDE CONSOLIDATED INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DIST. v. U.S.
451 U.S. 1002 (1981)

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U.S. Supreme Court

UVALDE CONSOLIDATED INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DIST. v. U.S. , 451 U.S. 1002 (1981)

451 U.S. 1002

UVALDE CONSOLIDATED INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT et al. v. UNITED STATES
No. 80-1237 Supreme Court of the United States May 18, 1981

On petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

The petition for writ of certiorari is denied.

Justice REHNQUIST, dissenting.

In this case, the Attorney General has filed a complaint under 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, 79 Stat. 437, as amended in 1975, 42 U.S.C . 1973,1 alleging that petitioner School District's at-large system of electing members " 'has been implemented with the intent and purpose of causing . . . irreparable injury to Mexican-American voters . . . by effectively and purposefully precluding them from meaningful access to the political process. . . .' " 625 F.2d 547, 548-549 (CA5 1980). The complaint further alleges:

"[T]he seven member Board of Trustees of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District is elected at-large;

"approximately fifty percent of the population of the school district is Mexican-American, but Mexican-American voters' residences are concentrated in one part of the City of Uvalde;

Page 451 U.S. 1002 , 1003

"only one Mexican-American has ever been elected to the Board of Trustees and currently no Mexican-Americans serve on the Board;

Page 451 U.S. 1002 , 2

"voting is normally along racial lines;

"the Board has discriminated against Mexican-Americans in the past by operating intentionally segregated elementary schools and is unresponsive to the needs of the Mexican-American community;

"as a result of the school district's election system, Mexican- Americans have less opportunity than 'whites' to participate in the political process and to elect candidates of their choice to the Board." Id., at 549 (footnote omitted).

The United States District Court for the Western District of Texas dismissed the suit for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. 461 F.Supp. 117 (1978). It concluded that the Fifteenth Amendment, upon which 2 of the Act rests,3 applies only to practices which directly affect access to the ballot and is thus not available to challenge at-large election districts on the basis of so-called "vote dilution."

The Court of Appeals reversed, finding that respondent had stated a cause of action under the Fifteenth Amendment. It canvassed the various opinions in Mobile v. City of Bolden, 446 U.S. 55d 47 (1980), and concluded that a majority of this Court had held that the Fifteenth Amendment prohibits not just the actual prevention or hindrance of people from voting, but also purposeful vote dilution. The Court of Appeals, however, did not rest its decision on that ground alone. It [451 U.S. 1002 , 1004]


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