Baker v. Carr

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Baker v. Carr
Syllabus
Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186 (1962), was a landmark case in which the Supreme Court of the United States retreated from the Court's political question doctrine to decide that reapportionment issues (attempts to change the way voting districts are delineated) present justiciable questions, thus enabling federal courts to intervene in and to decide reapportionment cases. The defendants unsuccessfully argued that reapportionment of legislative districts is a "political question," and hence not a question that may be resolved by federal courts".Excerpted from Baker v. Carr on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.


Court Documents
Opinion of the Court
Concurring Opinions
Douglas
Clark
Stewart
Dissenting Opinions
Frankfurter
Harlan
Linked case(s):
377 U.S. 533
376 U.S. 1
SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES

369 U.S. 186

Baker v. Carr

APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF TENNESSEE

No. 6 Argued: April 19-20, 1961 --- Decided: March 26, 1962

Appellants are persons allegedly qualified to vote for members of the General Assembly of Tennessee representing the counties in which they reside. They brought suit in a Federal District Court in Tennessee under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1988, on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated, to redress the alleged deprivation of their federal constitutional rights by legislation classifying voters with respect to representation in the General Assembly. They alleged that, by means of a 1901 statute of Tennessee arbitrarily and capriciously apportioning the seats in the General Assembly among the State's 95 counties, and a failure to reapportion them subsequently notwithstanding substantial growth and redistribution of the State's population, they suffer a "debasement of their votes," and were thereby denied the equal protection of the laws guaranteed them by the Fourteenth Amendment. They sought, inter alia, a declaratory judgment that the 1901 statute is unconstitutional and an injunction restraining certain state officers from conducting any further elections under it. The District Court dismissed the complaint on the grounds that it lacked jurisdiction of the subject matter and that no claim was stated upon which relief could be granted.

Held:

1. The District Court had jurisdiction of the subject matter of the federal constitutional claim asserted in the complaint. Pp. 198-204.

2. Appellants had standing to maintain this suit. Pp. 204-208.

3. The complaint's allegations of a denial of equal protection presented a justiciable constitutional cause of action upon which appellants are entitled to a trial and a decision. Pp. 208-37.