Voinovich v. Quilter, 507 U.S. 146 (1993)

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146

OCTOBER TERM, 1992

Syllabus

VOINOVICH, GOVERNOR OF OHIO, et al. v. QUILTER, SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE OF OHIO HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, et al.

appeal from the united states district court for the northern district of ohio

No. 91-1618. Argued December 8, 1992—Decided March 2, 1993

Pursuant to the Ohio Constitution's requirement that electoral districts for the state legislature be reapportioned every 10 years, appellant James Tilling drafted and the state apportionment board adopted in 1991 an apportionment plan that created several districts in which a majority of the population is a member of a specific minority group. Appellees, Democratic board members who voted against the plan and others, filed suit in the District Court, asking that the plan be invalidated on the grounds that it violated 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments. A three-judge District Court ordered the board to reconsider the plan, holding that 2 of the Voting Rights Act prohibits the wholesale creation of majority-minority districts unless necessary to remedy a 2 violation; the board, it held, had failed to show such a violation. The District Court reaffirmed that holding when it reviewed the board's revised 1992 plan, rejecting appellants' argument that it should not have invalidated the 1991 plan without finding that, under the totality of the circumstances, the plan diluted minority voting strength. In addition, the court held that the board had violated the Fifteenth Amendment by applying the remedy of creating majority-minority districts intentionally and for the purpose of political advantage. It further held that the plan violated the Fourteenth Amendment by departing from the requirement that all districts be of nearly equal population.

Held: 1. The plan does not violate 2 of the Voting Rights Act. Pp. 152-158. (a) Appellees raise an "influence-dilution" claim. They contend that, by packing black voters in a few districts with a disproportionately large black voter population, the plan deprived them of a larger number of districts in which they would have been an influential minority capable of electing their candidates of choice with the help of cross-over votes from white voters. While this Court has not decided whether such a claim is viable under 2, the Court assumes for the purpose of

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