Reynolds v. Sims/Opinion of the Court
|Introduction & I||II||III||IV||V||VI||VII-X|
MR. CHIEF JUSTICE WARREN delivered the opinion of the Court.
Involved in these cases are an appeal and two cross-appeals from a decision of the Federal District Court for the Middle District of Alabama holding invalid, under [p537] the Equal Protection Clause of the Federal Constitution, the existing and two legislatively proposed plans for the apportionment of seats in the two houses of the Alabama Legislature, and ordering into effect a temporary reapportionment plan comprised of parts of the proposed but judicially disapproved measures. [n1]
On August 26, 1961, the original plaintiffs (appellees in No. 23), residents, taxpayers and voters of Jefferson County, Alabama, filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, in their own behalf and on behalf of all similarly situated Alabama voters, challenging the apportionment of the Alabama Legislature. Defendants below (appellants in No. 23), sued in their representative capacities, were various state and political party officials charged with the performance of certain duties in connection with state elections. [n2] The complaint alleged a deprivation of rights under the Alabama Constitution and under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and asserted that the District Court had jurisdiction under provisions of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 1988, as well as under 28 U.S.C. § 1343(3).
The complaint stated that the Alabama Legislature was composed of a Senate of 35 members and a House of Representatives of 106 members. It set out relevant portions of the 1901 Alabama Constitution, which prescribe the number of members of the two bodies of the [p538] State Legislature and the method of apportioning the seats among the State's 67 counties, and provide as follows:
Art. IV, Sec. 50.
- The legislature shall consist of not more than thirty-five senators, and not more than one hundred and five members of the house of representatives, to be apportioned among the several districts and counties, as prescribed in this Constitution; provided that, in addition to the above number of representatives, each new county hereafter created shall be entitled to one representative.
Art. IX, Sec.197.
- The whole number of senators shall be not less than one-fourth or more than one-third of the whole number of representatives.
Art. IX, Sec.198.
- The house of representatives shall consist of not more than one hundred and five members, unless new counties shall be created, in which event each new county shall be entitled to one representative. The members of the house of representatives shall be apportioned by the legislature among the several counties of the state, according to the number of inhabitants in them, respectively, as ascertained by the decennial census of the United States, which apportionment, when made, shall not be subject to alteration until the next session of the legislature after the next decennial census of the United States shall have been taken.
Art. IX, Sec.199.
- It shall be the duty of the legislature at its first session after the taking of the decennial census of the United States in the year nineteen hundred and ten, and after each subsequent decennial census, to fix by law the number of representatives and apportion them among the several counties of the state, according to the number of inhabitants in them, respectively; provided, that [p539] each county shall be entitled to at least one representative.
Art. IX, Sec. 200.
- It shall be the duty of the legislature at its first session after taking of the decennial census of the United States in the year nineteen hundred and ten, and after each subsequent decennial census, to fix by law the number of senators, and to divide the state into as many senatorial districts as there are senators, which districts shall be as nearly equal to each other in the number of inhabitants as may be, and each shall be entitled to one senator, and no more, and such districts, when formed, shall not be changed until the next apportioning session of the legislature, after the next decennial census of the United States shall have been taken; provided, that counties created after the next preceding apportioning session of the legislature may be attached to senatorial districts. No county shall be divided between two districts, and no district shall be made up of two or more counties not contiguous to each other.
Art. XVIII, Sec. 284.
- . . . Representation in the legislature shall be based upon population, and such basis of representation shall not be changed by constitutional amendments.
The maximum size of the Alabama House was increased from 105 to 106 with the creation of a new county in 1903, pursuant to the constitutional provision which states that, in addition to the prescribed 105 House seats, each county thereafter created shall be entitled to one representative. Article IX, §§ 202 and 203, of the Alabama Constitution established precisely the boundaries of the State's senatorial and representative districts until the enactment of a new reapportionment plan by the legislature. These 1901 constitutional provisions, specifically describing the composition of the senatorial [p540] districts and detailing the number of House seats allocated to each county, were periodically enacted as statutory measures by the Alabama Legislature, as modified only by the creation of an additional county in 1903, and provided the plan of legislative apportionment existing at the time this litigation was commenced. [n3]
Plaintiffs below alleged that the last apportionment of the Alabama Legislature was based on the 1900 federal census, despite the requirement of the State Constitution that the legislature be reapportioned decennially. They asserted that, since the population growth in the State from 1900 to 1960 had been uneven, Jefferson and other counties were now victims of serious discrimination with respect to the allocation of legislative representation. As a result of the failure of the legislature to reapportion itself, plaintiffs asserted, they were denied "equal suffrage in free and equal elections . . . and the equal protection of the laws," in violation of the Alabama Constitution and the Fourteenth Amendment to the Federal Constitution. The complaint asserted that plaintiffs had no other adequate remedy, and that they had exhausted all forms of relief other than that available through the federal courts. They alleged that the Alabama Legislature had established a pattern of prolonged inaction from 1911 to the present which "clearly demonstrates that no reapportionment . . . shall be effected"; that representation at any future constitutional convention would be established by the legislature, making it unlikely that the membership of any such convention would be fairly representative, and that, while the Alabama Supreme Court had found that the legislature had not complied with the State Constitution in failing to reapportion according [p541] to population decennially, [n4] that court had nevertheless indicated that it would not interfere with matters of legislative reapportionment. [n5]
Plaintiffs requested that a three-judge District Court be convened. [n6] With respect to relief, they sought a declaration that the existing constitutional and statutory provisions, establishing the present apportionment of seats in the Alabama Legislature, were unconstitutional under the Alabama and Federal Constitutions, and an injunction against the holding of future elections for legislators until the legislature reapportioned itself in accordance with the State Constitution. They further requested the issuance of a mandatory injunction, effective until such time as the legislature properly reapportioned, requiring the conducting of the 1962 election for legislators at large over the entire State, and any other relief which "may seem just, equitable and proper."
A three-judge District Court was convened, and three groups of voters, taxpayers and residents of Jefferson, Mobile, and Etowah Counties were permitted to intervene [p542] in the action as intervenor-plaintiffs. Two of the groups are cross-appellants in Nos. 27 and 41. With minor exceptions, all of the intervenors adopted the allegations of and sought the same relief as the original plaintiffs.
On March 29, 1962, just three days after this Court had decided Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186, plaintiffs moved for a preliminary injunction requiring defendants to conduct at large the May, 1962, Democratic primary election and the November, 1962, general election for members of the Alabama Legislature. The District Court set the motion for hearing in an order stating its tentative views that an injunction was not required before the May, 1962, primary election to protect plaintiffs' constitutional rights, and that the Court should take no action which was not "absolutely essential" for the protection of the asserted constitutional rights before the Alabama Legislature had had a "further reasonable but prompt opportunity to comply with its duty" under the Alabama Constitution.
On April 14, 1962, the District Court, after reiterating the views expressed in its earlier order, reset the case for hearing on July 16, noting that the importance of the case, together with the necessity for effective action within a limited period of time, required an early announcement of its views. 205 F.Supp. 245. Relying on our decision in Baker v. Carr, the Court found jurisdiction, justiciability and standing. It stated that it was taking judicial notice of the facts that there had been population changes in Alabama's counties since 1901, that the present representation in the State Legislature was not on a population basis, and that the legislature had never reapportioned its membership as required by the Alabama Constitution. [n7] Continuing, the Court stated [p543] that, if the legislature complied with the Alabama constitutional provision requiring legislative representation to be based on population, there could be no objection on federal constitutional grounds to such an apportionment. The Court further indicated that, if the legislature failed to act, or if its actions did not meet constitutional standards, it would be under a "clear duty" to take some action on the matter prior to the November, 1962, general election. The District Court stated that its "present thinking" was to follow an approach suggested by MR. JUSTICE CLARK in his concurring opinion in Baker v. Carr [n8] — awarding seats released by the consolidation or revamping of existing districts to counties suffering "the most egregious discrimination," thereby releasing the strangle hold on the legislature sufficiently so as to permit the newly elected body to enact a constitutionally valid and permanent reapportionment plan, and allowing eventual dismissal of the case. Subsequently, plaintiffs were permitted to amend their complaint by adding a further prayer for relief, which asked the District Court to reapportion the Alabama Legislature provisionally so that the rural strangle hold would be relaxed enough to permit it to reapportion itself.
On July 12, 1962, an extraordinary session of the Alabama Legislature adopted two reapportionment plans to take effect for the 1966 elections. One was a proposed constitutional amendment, referred to as the "67-Senator Amendment." [n9] It provided for a House of Representatives consisting of 106 members, apportioned by giving [p544] one seat to each of Alabama's 67 counties and distributing the others according to population by the "equal proportions" method. [n10] Using this formula, the constitutional amendment specified the number of representatives allotted to each county until a new apportionment could be made on the basis of the 1970 census. The Senate was to be composed of 67 members, one from each county. The legislation provided that the proposed amendment should be submitted to the voters for ratification at the November 1962 general election.
The other reapportionment plan was embodied in a statutory measure adopted by the legislature and signed into law by the Alabama Governor, and was referred to as the "Crawford-Webb Act." [n11] It was enacted as standby legislation, to take effect in 1966 if the proposed constitutional amendment should fail of passage by a majority of the State's voters, or should the federal courts refuse to accept the proposed amendment (though not rejected by the voters) as effective action in compliance with the requirements of the Fourteenth Amendment. The act provided for a Senate consisting of 35 members, representing 35 senatorial districts established along county lines, and altered only a few of the former districts. In apportioning the 106 seats in the Alabama House of Representatives, the statutory measure gave each county one seat, and apportioned the remaining 39 on a rough population basis, under a formula requiring increasingly more population for a county to be accorded [p545] additional seats. The Crawford-Webb Act also provided that it would be effective "until the legislature is reapportioned according to law," but provided no standards for such a reapportionment. Future apportionments would presumably be based on the existing provisions of the Alabama Constitution which the statute, unlike the proposed constitutional amendment, would not affect.
The evidence adduced at trial before the three-judge panel consisted primarily of figures showing the population of each Alabama county and senatorial district according to the 1960 census, and the number of representatives allocated to each county under each of the three plans at issue in the litigation — the existing apportionment (under the 1901 constitutional provisions and the current statutory measures substantially reenacting the same plan), the proposed 67-Senator constitutional amendment, and the Crawford-Webb Act. Under all three plans, each senatorial district would be represented by only one senator.
On July 21, 1962, the District Court held that the inequality of the existing representation in the Alabama Legislature violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, a finding which the Court noted had been "generally conceded" by the parties to the litigation, since population growth and shifts had converted the 1901 scheme, as perpetuated some 60 years later, into an invidiously discriminatory plan completely lacking in rationality. 208 F.Supp. 431. Under the existing provisions, applying 1960 census figures, only 25.1% of the State's total population resided in districts represented by a majority of the members of the Senate, and only 25.7% lived in counties which could elect a majority of the members of the House of Representatives. Population variance ratios of up to about 41-to-1 existed in the Senate, and up to about 16-to-1 in the House. Bullock County, with a population of only 13,462, and Henry County, with a population of only 15,286, each were allocated two seats [p546] in the Alabama House, whereas Mobile County, with a population of 314,301, was given only three seats, and Jefferson County, with 634,864 people, had only seven representatives. [n12] With respect to senatorial apportionment, since the pertinent Alabama constitutional provisions had been consistently construed as prohibiting the giving of more than one Senate seat to any one county, [n13] Jefferson County, with over 600,000 people, was given only one senator, as was Lowndes County, with a 1960 population of only 15,417, and Wilcox County, with only 18,739 people. [n14]
The Court then considered both the proposed constitutional amendment and the Crawford-Webb Act to ascertain [p547] whether the legislature had taken effective action to remedy the unconstitutional aspects of the existing apportionment. In initially summarizing the result which it had reached, the Court stated:
- This Court has reached the conclusion that neither the "67-Senator Amendment" nor the "Crawford-Webb Act" meets the necessary constitutional requirements. We find that each of the legislative acts, when considered as a whole, is so obviously discriminatory, arbitrary and irrational that it becomes unnecessary to pursue a detailed development of each of the relevant factors of the [federal constitutional] test. [n15]
The Court stated that the apportionment of one senator to each county, under the proposed constitutional amendment, would "make the discrimination in the Senate even more invidious than at present." Under the 67-Senator Amendment, as pointed out by the court below,
- [t]he present control of the Senate by members representing 25.1% of the people of Alabama would be reduced to control by members representing 19.4% of the people of the State,
the 34 smallest counties, with a total population of less than that of Jefferson County, would have a majority of the senatorial seats, and senators elected by only about 14% of the State's population could prevent the submission to the electorate of any future proposals to amend the State Constitution (since a vote of two-fifths of the members of one house can defeat a proposal to amend the Alabama Constitution). Noting that the "only conceivable rationalization" of the senatorial apportionment scheme is that it was based on equal representation of political subdivisions within the State, and is thus analogous to the Federal Senate, the District Court rejected the analogy on the ground that Alabama [p548] counties are merely involuntary political units of the State created by statute to aid in the administration of state government. In finding the so-called federal analogy irrelevant, the District Court stated:
- The analogy cannot survive the most superficial examination into the history of the requirement of the Federal Constitution and the diametrically opposing history of the requirement of the Alabama Constitution that representation shall be based on population. Nor can it survive a comparison of the different political natures of states and counties. [n16]
The Court also noted that the senatorial apportionment proposal "may not have complied with the State Constitution," since not only is it explicitly provided that the population basis of legislative representation "shall not be changed by constitutional amendments," [n17] but the Alabama Supreme Court had previously indicated that that requirement could probably be altered only by constitutional convention. [n18] The Court concluded, however, that the apportionment of seats in the Alabama House, under the proposed constitutional amendment, was "based upon reason, with a rational regard for known and accepted [p549] standards of apportionment." [n19] Under the proposed apportionment of representatives, each of the 67 counties was given one seat, and the remaining 39 were allocated on a population basis. About 43% of the State's total population would live in counties which could elect a majority in that body. And, under the provisions of the 67-Senator Amendment, while the maximum population variance ratio was increased to about 59-to-1 in the Senate, it was significantly reduced to about 4.7-to-1 in the House of Representatives. Jefferson County was given 17 House seats, an addition of 10, and Mobile County was allotted eight, an increase of five. The increased representation of the urban counties was achieved primarily by limiting the State's 55 least populous counties to one House seat each, and the net effect was to take 19 seats away from rural counties and allocate them to the more populous counties. Even so, serious disparities from a population-based standard remained. Montgomery County, with 169,210 people, was given only four seats, while Coosa County, with a population of only 10,726, and Cleburne County, with only 10,911, were each allocated one representative.
Turning next to the provisions of the Crawford-Webb Act, the District Court found that its apportionment of the 106 seats in the Alabama House of Representatives, by allocating one seat to each county and distributing the remaining 39 to the more populous counties in diminishing ratio to their populations, was "totally unacceptable." [n20] Under this plan, about 37% of the State's total [p550] population would reside in counties electing a majority of the members of the Alabama House, with a maximum population variance ratio of about 5-to-1. Each representative from Jefferson and Mobile Counties would represent over 52,000 persons, while representatives from eight rural counties would each represent less than 20,000 people. The Court regarded the senatorial apportionment provided in the Crawford-Webb Act as "a step in the right direction, but an extremely short step," and but a "slight improvement over the present system of representation." [n21] The net effect of combining a few of the less populous counties into two-county districts and splitting up several of the larger districts into smaller ones would be merely to increase the minority which would be represented by a majority of the members of the Senate from 25.1% to only 27.6% of the State's population. [n22] The Court pointed out that, under the Crawford-Webb Act, the vote of a person in the senatorial district consisting of Bibb and Perry Counties would be worth 20 times that of a citizen in Jefferson County, and that the vote of a citizen in the six smallest districts would be worth 15 or more times that of a Jefferson County voter. The Court concluded that the Crawford-Webb [p551] Act was "totally unacceptable" as a "piece of permanent legislation" which, under the Alabama Constitution, would have remained in effect without alteration at least until after the next decennial census.
Under the detailed requirements of the various constitutional provisions relating to the apportionment of seats in the Alabama Senate and House of Representatives, the Court found, the membership of neither house can be apportioned solely on a population basis, despite the provision in Art. XVIII, § 284, which states that "[r]epresentation in the legislature shall be based upon population." In dealing with the conflicting and somewhat paradoxical requirements (under which the number of seats in the House is limited to 106 but each of the 67 counties is required to be given at least one representative, and the size of the Senate is limited to 35 but it is required to have at least one-fourth of the members of the House, although no county can be given more than one senator), the District Court stated its view that "the controlling or dominant provision of the Alabama Constitution on the subject of representation in the Legislature" is the previously referred to language of § 284. The Court stated that the detailed requirements of Art. IX, § § 197-200,
- make it obvious that in neither the House nor the Senate can representation be based strictly and entirely upon population. . . . The result may well be that representation according to population to some extent must be required in both Houses if invidious discrimination in the legislative systems as a whole is to be avoided. Indeed, . . . it is the policy and theme of the Alabama Constitution to require representation according to population in both Houses as nearly as may be, while still complying with more detailed provisions. [n23] [p552]
The District Court then directed its concern to the providing of an effective remedy. It indicated that it was adopting and ordering into effect for the November, 1962, election a provisional and temporary reapportionment plan composed of the provisions relating to the House of Representatives contained in the 67-Senator Amendment and the provisions of the Crawford-Webb Act relating to the Senate. The Court noted, however, that
- [t]he proposed reapportionment of the Senate in the "Crawford-Webb Act," unacceptable as a piece of permanent legislation, may not even break the stranglehold.
Stating that it was retaining jurisdiction and deferring any hearing on plaintiffs' motion for a permanent injunction
- until the Legislature, as provisionally reapportioned . . . , has an opportunity to provide for a true reapportionment of both Houses of the Alabama Legislature,
the Court emphasized that its "moderate" action was designed to break the stranglehold by the smaller counties on the Alabama Legislature, and would not suffice as a permanent reapportionment. On July 25, 1962, the Court entered its decree in accordance with its previously stated determinations, concluding that
- plaintiffs . . . are denied . . . equal protection . . . by virtue of the debasement of their votes since the Legislature of the State of Alabama has failed and continues to fail to reapportion itself as required by law.
It enjoined the defendant state officials from holding any future elections under any of the apportionment plans that it had found invalid, and stated that the 1962 election of Alabama legislators could validly be conducted only under the apportionment scheme specified in the Court's order.
After the District Court's decision, new primary elections were held pursuant to legislation enacted in 1962 at the same special session as the proposed constitutional amendment and the Crawford-Webb Act, to be effective [p553] in the event the Court itself ordered a particular reapportionment plan into immediate effect. The November, 1962, general election was likewise conducted on the basis of the District Court's ordered apportionment of legislative seats, as MR. JUSTICE BLACK refused to stay the District Court's order. Consequently, the present Alabama Legislature is apportioned in accordance with the temporary plan prescribed by the District Court's decree. All members of both houses of the Alabama Legislature serve four-year terms, so that the next regularly scheduled election of legislators will not be held until 1966. The 1963 regular session of the Alabama Legislature produced no legislation relating to legislative apportionment, [n24] and the legislature, which meets biennially, will not hold another regular session until 1965.
No effective political remedy to obtain relief against the alleged malapportionment of the Alabama Legislature appears to have been available. [n25] No initiative procedure exists under Alabama law. Amendment of the State Constitution can be achieved only after a proposal is adopted by three-fifths of the members of both houses of the legislature and is approved by a majority of the people, [n26] or as a result of a constitutional convention convened [p554] after approval by the people of a convention call initiated by a majority of both houses of the Alabama Legislature. [n27] Notices of appeal to this Court from the District Court's decision were timely filed by defendants below (appellants in No. 23) and by two groups of intervenor-plaintiffs (cross appellants in Nos. 27 and 41). Appellants in No. 23 contend that the District Court erred in holding the existing and the two proposed plans for the apportionment of seats in the Alabama Legislature unconstitutional, and that a federal court lacks the power to affirmatively reapportion seats in a state legislature. Cross-appellants in No. 27 assert that the court below erred in failing to compel reapportionment of the Alabama Senate on a population basis, as allegedly required by the Alabama Constitution and the Equal Protection Clause of the Federal Constitution. Cross-appellants in No. 41 contend that the District Court should have required and ordered into effect the apportionment of seats in both houses of the Alabama Legislature on a population basis. We noted probable jurisdiction on June 10, 1963. 374 U.S. 802.
*^ Together with No. 27, Vann et al. v. Baggett, Secretary of State of Alabama, et al., and No. 41, McConnell et al. v. Bagett, Secretary of State of Alabama, et al., also on appeal from the same court.
1. Sims v. Frink, 208 F.Supp. 431 (D.C.M.D.Ala.1962). All decisions of the District Court in this litigation are reported sub nom. Sims v. Frink.
2. Included among the defendants were the Secretary of State and the Attorney General of Alabama, the Chairmen and Secretaries of the Alabama State Democratic Executive Committee and the State Republican Executive Committee, and three Judges of Probate of three counties, as representatives of all the probate judges of Alabama.
3. Provisions virtually identical to those contained in Art. IX, §§ 202 and 203, were enacted into the Alabama Codes of 1907 and 1923, and were most recently reenacted as statutory provisions in §§ 1 and 2 of Tit. 32 of the 1940 Alabama Code (as recompiled in 1958).
4. See Opinion of the Justices, 263 Ala. 158, 164, 81 So.2d 881, 887 (1955), and Opinion of the Justices, 254 Ala. 185, 187, 47 So.2d 714, 717 (1950), referred to by the District Court in its preliminary opinion. 205 F.Supp. 245, 247.
5. See Ex parte Rice, 273 Ala. 712, 143 So.2d 848 (1962), where the Alabama Supreme Court, on May 9, 1962, subsequent to the District Court's preliminary order in the instant litigation as well as our decision in Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186, refused to review a denial of injunctive relief sought against the conducting of the 1962 primary election until after reapportionment of the Alabama Legislature, stating that "this matter is a legislative function, and . . . the Court has no jurisdiction. . . ." And in Waid v. Pool, 255 Ala. 441, 51 So.2d 869 (1951), the Alabama Supreme Court, in a similar suit, had stated that the lower court had properly refused to grant injunctive relief because
- appellants . . . are seeking interference by the judicial department of the state in respect to matters committed by the constitution to the legislative department.
255 Ala., at 442, 51 So.2d at 870.
6. Under 28 U.S.C. §§ 2281 and 2284.
7. During the over 60 years since the last substantial reapportionment in Alabama, the State's population increased from 1,828,697 to 3,244,286. Virtually all of the population gain occurred in urban counties, and many of the rural counties incurred sizable losses in population.
8. See 369 U.S. at 260 (CLARK, J., concurring).
9. Proposed Constitutional Amendment No. 1 of 1962, Alabama Senate Bill No. 29, Act No. 93, Acts of Alabama, Special Session, 1962, p. 124. The text of the proposed amendment is set out as Appendix B to the lower court's opinion. 208 F.Supp. at 443-444.
10. For a discussion of this method of apportionment, used in distributing seats in the Federal House of Representatives among the States, and other commonly used apportionment methods, see Schmeckebier, The Method of Equal Proportions, 17 Law & Contemp.Prob. 302 (1952).
11. Alabama Reapportionment Act of 1962, Alabama House Bill No. 59, Act No. 91, Acts of Alabama, Special Session, 1962, p. 121. The text of the act is reproduced as Appendix C to the lower court's opinion. 208 F.Supp. at 445-446.
12. A comprehensive chart showing the representation by counties in the Alabama House of Representatives under the existing apportionment provisions is set out as Appendix D to the lower court's opinion. 208 F.Supp. at 447-449. This chart includes the number of House seats given to each county, and the populations of the 67 Alabama counties under the 1900, 1950, and 1960 censuses.
13. Although cross appellants in No. 27 assert that the Alabama Constitution forbids the division of a county, in forming senatorial districts, only when one or both pieces will be joined with another county to form a multi-county district, this view appears to be contrary to the language of Art. IX, § 200, of the Alabama Constitution and the practice under it. Cross-appellants contend that counties entitled by population to two or more senators can be split into the appropriate number of districts, and argue that, prior to the adoption of the 1901 provisions, the Alabama Constitution so provided, and there is no reason to believe that the language of the present provision was intended to effect any change. However, the only apportionments under the 1901 Alabama Constitution — the 1901 provisions and the Crawford-Webb Act — gave no more than one seat to a county even though by population several counties would have been entitled to additional senatorial representation.
14. A chart showing the composition, by counties, of the 35 senatorial districts provided for under the existing apportionment, and the population of each according to the 1900, 1950, and 1960 censuses, is reproduced as Appendix E to the lower court's opinion. 208 F.Supp. at 450.
15. 208 F.Supp. at 437.
16. Id. at 438
17. According to the District Court, in the interval between its preliminary order and its decision on the merits, the Alabama Legislature, despite adopting this constitutional amendment proposal,
- refused to inquire of the Supreme Court of the State of Alabama whether this provision in the Constitution of the State of Alabama could be changed by constitutional amendment as the "67-Senator Amendment" proposes.
208 F.Supp. at 437.
18. At least this is the reading of the District Court of two somewhat conflicting decisions by the Alabama Supreme Court, resulting in a "manifest uncertainty of the legality of the proposed constitutional amendment, as measured by State standards. . . ." 208 F.Supp. at 438. Compare Opinion of the Justices, 254 Ala. 183, 184, 47 So.2d 713, 714 (1950), with Opinion of the Justices, 263 Ala. 158, 164, 81 So.2d 881, 887 (1955).
19. See the later discussion, infra at 568-569, and note 68, infra where we reject the lower court's apparent conclusion that the apportionment of the Alabama House, under the 67-Senator Amendment, comported with the requirements of the Equal Protection Clause.
20. While no formula for the statute's apportionment of representatives is expressly stated, one can be extrapolated. Counties with less than 45,000 people are given one seat; those with 45,000 to 90,000 receive two seats; counties with 90,000 to 150,000, three seats; those with 150,000 to 300,000, four seats; counties with 300,000 to 600,000, six seats, and counties with over 600,000 are given 12 seats.
21. Appendix F to the lower court's opinion sets out a chart showing the populations of the 35 senatorial districts provided for under the Crawford-Webb Act and the composition, by counties, of the various districts. 208 F.Supp. at 451.
22. Cross appellants in No. 27 assert that the Crawford-Webb Act was a "minimum change measure" which merely redrew new senatorial district lines around the nominees of the May, 1962, Democratic primary so as to retain the seats of 34 of the 35 nominees, and resulted, in practical effect, in the shift of only one Senate seat from an overrepresented district to another underpopulated, newly created district.
23. 208 F.Supp. at 439.
24. Possibly this resulted from an understandable desire on the part of the Alabama Legislature to await a final determination by this Court in the instant litigation before proceeding to enact a permanent apportionment plan.
25. However, a proposed constitutional amendment, which would have made the Alabama House of Representatives somewhat more representative of population but the Senate substantially less so, was rejected by the people in a 1956 referendum, with the more populous counties accounting for the defeat.
See the discussion in Lucas v. Forty-Fourth General Assembly of Colorado, post, pp. 736-737, decided also this date, with respect to the lack of federal constitutional significance of the presence or absence of an available political remedy.
26. Ala.Const., Art. XVIII, § 284.
27. Ala.Const., Art. XVIII, § 286.
28. The Fifteenth, Seventeenth, Nineteenth, Twenty-third and Twenty-fourth Amendments to the Federal Constitution all involve expansions of the right of suffrage. Also relevant in this regard is the civil rights legislation enacted by Congress in 1957 and 1960.
29. As stated by MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS, dissenting in South v. Peters, 339 U.S. 276, 279:
- There is more to the right to vote than the right to mark a piece of paper and drop it in a box or the right to pull a lever in a voting booth. The right to vote includes the right to have the ballot counted. . . . It also includes the right to have the vote counted at full value without dilution or discount. . . . That federally protected right suffers substantial dilution . . . [where a] favored group has full voting strength . . . [and] [t]he groups not in favor have their votes discounted.
30. Litigation challenging the constitutionality of state legislative apportionment schemes had been instituted in at least 34 States prior to the end of 1962 — within nine months of our decision in Baker v. Carr. See McKay, Political Thickets and Crazy Quilts: Reapportionment and Equal Protection, 61 Mich.L.Rev. 645, 706-710 (1963), which contains an appendix summarizing reapportionment litigation through the end of 1962. See also David and Eisenberg, Devaluation of the Urban and Suburban Vote (1961); Goldberg, The Statistics of Malapportionment, 72 Yale L.J. 90 (1962).
31. 369 U.S. at 198.
32. Id. at 226.
33. Scholle v. Hare, 369 U.S. 429 (Michigan); WMCA, Inc., v. Simon, 370 U.S. 190 (New York).
34. 372 U.S. at 379-380.
35. Id. at 381.
36. Id. at 376. Later in the opinion, we again stated:
- Nor does the question here have anything to do with the composition of the state or federal legislature. And we intimate no opinion on the constitutional phases of that problem beyond what we said in Baker v. Carr. . . .
Id. at 378.
37. 376 U.S. at 14.
38. Id. at 17-18.
39. As stated by MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS, the rights sought to be vindicated in a suit challenging an apportionment scheme are "personal and individual," South v. Peters, 339 U.S. at 280, and are "important political rights of the people," MacDougall v. Green, 335 U.S. 281, 288. (DOUGLAS, J., dissenting.)
40. As stated by MR. JUSTICE BLACK, dissenting, in Colegrove v. Green, 328 U.S. 549, 569-571:
- No one would deny that the equal protection clause would . . . prohibit a law that would expressly give certain citizens a half-vote and others a full vote. . . . [T]he constitutionally guaranteed right to vote and the right to have one's vote counted clearly imply the policy that state election systems, no matter what their form, should be designed to give approximately equal weight to each vote cast. . . . [A] state legislature cannot deny eligible voters the right to vote for Congressmen and the right to have their vote counted. It can no more destroy the effectiveness of their vote in part and no more accomplish this in the name of "apportionment" than under any other name.
41. 376 U.S. at 8. See also id. at 17, quoting from James Wilson, a delegate to the Constitutional Convention and later an Associate Justice of this Court, who stated:
- [A]ll elections ought to be equal. Elections are equal when a given number of citizens in one part of the state choose as many representatives as are chosen by the same number of citizens in any other part of the state. In this manner, the proportion of the representatives and of the constituents will remain invariably the same.
2 The Works of James Wilson (Andrews ed. 1896) 15.
And, as stated by MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS, dissenting, in MacDougall v. Green, 335 U.S. at 288, 290:
- [A] regulation . . . [which] discriminates against the residents of the populous counties of the state in favor of rural sections . . . lacks the equality to which the exercise of political rights is entitled under the Fourteenth Amendment.
- Free and honest elections are the very foundation of our republican form of government. . . . Discrimination against any group or class of citizens in the exercise of these constitutionally protected rights of citizenship deprives the electoral process of integrity. . . .
- None would deny that a state law giving some citizens twice the vote of other citizens in either the primary or general election would lack that equality which the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees. . . . The theme of the Constitution is equality among citizens in the exercise of their political rights. The notion that one group can be granted greater voting strength than another is hostile to our standards for popular representative government.
42. 364 U.S.at 347
43. Although legislative apportionment controversies are generally viewed as involving urban-rural conflicts, much evidence indicates that presently it is the fast-growing suburban areas which are probably the most seriously underrepresented in many of our state legislatures. And, while currently the thrust of state legislative malapportionment results, in most States, in underrepresentation of urban and suburban areas, in earlier times, cities were, in fact, overrepresented in a number of States. In the early 19th century, certain of the seaboard cities in some of the Eastern and Southern States possessed and struggled to retain legislative representation disproportionate to population, and bitterly opposed according additional representation to the growing inland areas. Conceivably, in some future time, urban areas might again be in a situation of attempting to acquire or retain legislative representation in excess of that to which, on a population basis, they are entitled. Malapportionment can, and has historically, run in various directions. However and whenever it does, it is constitutionally impermissible under the Equal Protection Clause.
44. The British experience in eradicating "rotten boroughs" is interesting and enlightening. Parliamentary representation is now based on districts of substantially equal population, and periodic reapportionment is accomplished through independent Boundary Commissions. For a discussion of the experience and difficulties in Great Britain in achieving fair legislative representation, see Edwards, Theoretical and Comparative Aspects of Reapportionment and Redistricting: With Reference to Baker v. Carr, 15 Vand.L.Rev. 1265, 1275 (1962). See also the discussion in Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. at 302-307. (Frankfurter, J., dissenting.)
45. Under the existing scheme, Marshall County, with a 1960 population of 48,018, Baldwin County, with 49,088, and Houston County, with 50,718, are each given only one seat in the Alabama House, while Bullock County, with only 13,462, Henry County, with 15,286, and Lowndes County, with 15,417, are allotted two representatives each. And in the Alabama Senate, under the existing apportionment, a district comprising Lauderdale and Limestone Counties had a 1960 population of 98,135, and another composed of Lee and Russell Counties had 96,105. Conversely, Lowndes County, with only 15,417, and Wilcox County, with 18,739, are nevertheless single-county senatorial districts given one Senate seat each.
46. An interesting pre-Baker discussion of the problem of legislative malapportionment in Alabama is provided in Comment, Alabama's Unrepresentative Legislature, 14 Ala.L.Rev. 403 (1962).
47. See the cases cited and discussed in notes 4-5, supra, where the Alabama Supreme Court refused even to consider the granting of relief in suits challenging the validity of the apportionment of seats in the Alabama Legislature, although it stated that the legislature had failed to comply with the requirements of the State Constitution with respect to legislative reapportionment.
48. However, since the District Court found the proposed constitutional amendment prospectively invalid, it was never, in fact, voted upon by the State's electorate.
49. Resemblances between the system of representation in the Federal Congress and the apportionment scheme embodied in the 67-Senator Amendment appear to be more superficial than actual. Representation in the Federal House of Representatives is apportioned by the Constitution among the States in conformity with population. While each State is guaranteed at least one seat in the House, as a feature of our unique federal system, only four States have less than 1/435 of the country's total population, under the 1960 census. Thus, only four seats in the Federal House are distributed on a basis other than strict population. In Alabama, on the other hand, 40 of the 67 counties have less than 1/106 of the State's total population. Thus, under the proposed amendment, over 1/3 of the total number of seats in the Alabama House would be distributed on a basis other than strict population. States with almost 50% of the Nation's total population are required in order to elect a majority of the members of the Federal House, though unfair districting within some of the States presently reduces to about 42% the percentage of the country's population which reside in districts electing individuals comprising a majority in the Federal House. Cf. Wesberry v. Sanders, supra, holding such congressional districting unconstitutional. Only about 43% of the population of Alabama would live in districts which could elect a majority in the Alabama House under the proposed constitutional amendment. Thus, it could hardly be argued that the proposed apportionment of the Alabama House was based on population in a way comparable to the apportionment of seats in the Federal House among the States.
50. For a thorough statement of the arguments against holding the so-called federal analogy applicable to state legislative apportionment matters, see, e.g., McKay, Reapportionment and the Federal Analogy (National Municipal League pamphlet 1962); McKay, The Federal Analogy and State Apportionment Standards, 38 Notre Dame Law. 487 (1963). See also Merrill, Blazes for a Trail Through the Thicket of Reapportionment, 16 Okla.L.Rev. 59, 67-70 (1963).
51. 208 F.Supp. at 438. See the discussion of the District Court's holding as to the applicability of the federal analogy earlier in this opinion, supra at 547-548.
52. Report of Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, Apportionment of State Legislatures 10-11, 35, 69 (1962).
53. Thomas Jefferson repeatedly denounced the inequality of representation provided for under the 1776 Virginia Constitution and frequently proposed changing the State Constitution to provide that both houses be apportioned on the basis of population. In 1816, he wrote that
- a government is republican in proportion as every member composing it has his equal voice in the direction of its concerns . . . by representatives chosen by himself. . . .
Letter to Samuel Kercheval, 10 Writings of Thomas Jefferson (Ford ed. 1899) 38. And a few years later, in 1819, he stated:
- Equal representation is so fundamental a principle in a true republic that no prejudice can justify its violation, because the prejudices themselves cannot be justified.
Letter to William King, Jefferson Papers, Library of Congress, Vol. 216, p. 38616.
54. Article II, § 14, of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 stated quite specifically:
- The inhabitants of the said territory shall always be entitled to the benefits . . . of a proportionate representation of the people in the Legislature.
55. See the discussion in Wesberry v. Sanders, 376 U.S. at 14.
56. 372 U.S. at 378.
57. As stated by the Court in Bain Peanut Co. v. Pinson, 282 U.S. 499, 501, "We must remember that the machinery of government would not work if it were not allowed a little play in its joints."
58. But cf. the discussion of some of the practical problems inherent in the use of multi-member districts in Lucas v. Forty-Fourth General Assembly of Colorado, post, pp. 731-732, decided also this date.
59. See the discussion of the concept of floterial districts in Davis v. Mann, post, pp. 686-687, n. 2, decided also this date.
60. For a discussion of the formal apportionment formulae prescribed for the allocation of seats in state legislatures, see Dixon, Apportionment Standards and Judicial Power, 38 Notre Dame Law. 367, 398-400 (1963). See also The Book of the States 1962-1963, 58-62.
61. In rejecting a suggestion that the representation of the newer Western States in Congress should be limited so that it would never exceed that of the original States, the Constitutional Convention plainly indicated its view that history alone provided an unsatisfactory basis for differentiations relating to legislative representation. See Wesberry v. Sanders, 376 U.S. at 14. Instead, the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, in explicitly providing for population-based representation of those living in the Northwest Territory in their territorial legislatures, clearly implied that, as early as the year of the birth of our federal system, the proper basis of legislative representation was regarded as being population.
62. See McKay, Political Thickets and Crazy Quilts: Reapportionment and Equal Protection, 61 Mich.L.Rev. 645, 699-699 (1963).
63. Determining the size of its legislative bodies is, of course, a matter within the discretion of each individual State. Nothing in this opinion should be read as indicating that there are any federal constitutional maximums or minimums on the size of state legislative bodies.
64. See 369 U.S. at 217-232, discussing the nonjusticiability of malapportionment claims asserted under the Guaranty Clause.
65. Report of Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, Apportionment of State Legislatures 56 (1962). Additionally, the constitutions of seven other States either require or permit reapportionment of legislative representation more frequently than every 10 years. See also The Book of the States 1962-1963, 58-62.
66. Cf. Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186, 198. See also 369 U.S. at 250-251 (DOUGLAS, J., concurring), and passages from Baker quoted in this opinion, supra, at 556, 557, and infra.
67. 369 U.S. at 250.
68. Although the District Court indicated that the apportionment of the Alabama House under the 67-Senator Amendment was valid and acceptable, we, of course, reject that determination, which we regard as merely precatory and advisory, since the court below found the overall plan, under the proposed constitutional amendment, to be unconstitutional. See 208 F.Supp. at 440-441. See the discussion earlier in this opinion, supra, at 568-569.