Johnson v. De Grandy, 512 U.S. 997, 34 (1994)

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OCTOBER TERM, 1993

Syllabus

JOHNSON, SPEAKER OF THE FLORIDA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, et al. v. DE GRANDY et al.

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

No. 92-519. Argued October 4, 1993—Decided June 30, 1994*

In these consolidated cases, a group of Hispanic voters, a group of black voters, and the Federal Government claim that Florida's reapportionment plan for the State's single-member Senate and House districts (SJR 2-G) unlawfully dilutes the voting strength of Hispanics and blacks in the Dade County area, in violation of 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The State Supreme Court, in a review required by the State Constitution, declared the plan valid under federal and state law, while acknowledging that time constraints precluded full review and authorizing any interested party to bring a 2 challenge in that court. The plaintiffs chose, however, to pursue their claims in federal court. A three-judge District Court reviewed the totality of circumstances as required by 2 and Thornburg v. Gingles, 478 U. S. 30, and concluded that the three Gingles preconditions for establishing dilution were satisfied, justifying a finding of vote dilution. Specifically, the court found that voting proceeded largely along racial lines, producing a system of "tripartite politics"; that Hispanics in the Dade County area could constitute a majority in 11 House and 4 Senate districts, but that SJR 2-G had created only 9 House and 3 Senate districts with Hispanic majorities; that an additional majority-black Senate district could have been drawn; and that Florida's minorities had suffered historically from official discrimination, the social, economic, and political effects of which they continued to feel. The court imposed a remedial plan with 11 majority-Hispanic House districts but, concluding that the remedies for blacks and Hispanics in the senatorial districts were mutually exclusive, left SJR 2-G's Senate districts in force.

Held: 1. The District Court properly refused to give preclusive effect to the State Supreme Court's decision validating SJR 2-G. Pp. 1004-1006.

*Together with No. 92-593, De Grandy et al. v. Johnson, Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, et al., and No. 92-767, United States v. Florida, also on appeal from the same court.

997

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