412 U.S. 772 (1973)

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U.S. Supreme Court

GAFFNEY v. CUMMINGS , 412 U.S. 772 (1973)

412 U.S. 772

J. Brian GAFFNEY, Appellant,
Theodore R. CUMMINGS et al.

Mark WHITE, Jr., et al., Appellants,
Diana REGESTER et al.

Nos. 71-1476, 72-147.

Supreme Court of the United States

June 18, 1973

Mr. Justice BRENNAN, with whom Mr. Justice DOUGLAS and Mr. Justice MARSHALL join, concurring in part and dissenting in part in No. 72-147, and dissenting in No. 71-1476.

The Court today upholds statewide legislative apportionment plans for Connecticut and Texas, even though these plans admittedly entail substantial inequalities in the population of the representative districts, and even though the States have made virtually no attempt to justify their failure 'to construct districts . . . as nearly of equal population as is practicable.' Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533, 577, 1390 (1964). In reaching this conclusion, the Court sets aside the judgment of the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut holding the Connecticut plan invalid, and the judgment of the United States District Court for the Western Dis-

Page 412 U.S. 772 , 773

trict of Texas reaching a similar result as to the Texas plan. In the Texas case, the Court does affirm, however, the District Court's determination that the use of multimember districts in Dallas and Bexar Counties had the unconstitutional effect of minimizing the voting strength of racial groups. [Footnote 1] See Whitcomb v. Chavis, 403 U.S. 124, 142-144, 1868-1869 (1971); Burns v. Richardson, 384 U.S. 73, 88, 1294 (1966); Fortson v. Dorsey, 379 U.S. 433, 439, 501 (1965). With that latter conclusion I am in full agreement, as I also agree with and join Part I of the Court's opinion in No. 72-147, White v. Regester. But the decision to uphold the state apportionment schemes reflects a substantial and very unfortunate retreat from the principles established in our earlier cases, and I therefore must state my dissenting views.


At issue in No. 71-1476, Gaffney v. Cummings, is the 1971 reapportionment plan for election of members of the House of Representatives of Connecticut. The plan was premised on a 151-member House, with each member elected from a single-member district. Since the population of the State was 3,032,217, according to 1970 census data, the ideal would fix the population of each district at 20,081. In fact, the population of many [412 U.S. 772 , 774]

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