Upham v. Seamon - 456 U.S. 37 (1982)
U.S. Supreme Court
Upham v. Seamon, 456 U.S. 37 (1982)
Upham v. Seamon
Decided April 1, 1982
456 U.S. 37
After the increase in Texas' congressional delegation resulting from the 1980 census, the Texas Legislature enacted a reapportionment plan (SB1) that was submitted to the Attorney General for preclearance under the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Suit was then filed in Federal District Court challenging SB1's constitutionality and its validity under the Act. The three-judge court delayed the proceedings pending action by the Attorney General, who ultimately objected to the lines drawn for two contiguous districts in south Texas (Districts 15 and 27) but concluded that the State had otherwise satisfied its burden of demonstrating that SB1 was nondiscriminatory in purpose and effect. The court then formulated a plan which resolved the Attorney General's objection to Districts 15 and 27 and retained all other districts from SB1 except for those in Dallas County, for which the court devised its own districts. One judge concluded that the SB1 plan for Dallas County was unconstitutional, while another concluded that, since SB1 was a nullity because of the Attorney General's action, the entire plan had to be a court-ordered plan that was subject to stricter standards than a legislative plan, and thus required the different districts for Dallas County. Only that part of the District Court's judgment relating to Dallas County was appealed.
1. In the absence of any objection to the Dallas County districts by the Attorney General, and in the absence of any finding of a constitutional or statutory violation with respect to those districts, the District Court -- in effecting an interim apportionment plan -- must defer to the Texas Legislature's judgment reflected in SB1's districts for Dallas County. Cf. White v. Weiser, 412 U. S. 783; Whitcomb v. Chavis, 403 U. S. 124.
2. The District Court, in the first instance, should determine whether to modify its judgment and reschedule forthcoming congressional primary elections for Dallas County or, in spite of its erroneous refusal to adopt the SB1 districts for Dallas County, to allow the elections to proceed under its interim plan and present schedule.
536 F.Supp. 931, vacated and remanded.