W.M.C.A., Inc. v. Simon/Opinion of the Court

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Opinion of the Court
Dissenting Opinion

United States Supreme Court

370 U.S. 190

W.M.C.A., Inc.  v.  Simon

On January 11, 1962, the three-judge District Court dismissed the complaint alleging violation of the Constitution of the United States by New York State's constitutional and statutory provisions governing apportionment of State Senate and Assembly Districts. 202 F.Supp. 741. The three judges filed separate opinions, no two of which supported the judgment of dismissal on identical grounds. One opinion expressed the view that the action should be dismissed for failure to state a claim, want of justiciability, and want of equity. 202 F.Supp., at 742. A second opinion expressed the view that since the apportionment was not alleged to effect a discrimination against any particular racial or religious group, but merely a geographical discrimination, jurisdiction should be exercised, but only to dismiss. 202 F.Supp., at 754. A third opinion rested on the ground that the action was not justiciable and expressed no view on the merits. 202 F.Supp., at 755.

On March 26, 1962, we held in Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186, 82 S.Ct. 691, 7 L.Ed.2d 663, that a justiciable federal constitutional cause of action is stated by a claim of arbitrary impairment of votes by means of invidiously discriminatory geographic classification. Our well-established practice of a remand for consideration in the light of a subsequent decision therefore applies. As in Scholle v. Hare, 369 U.S. 429, 82 S.Ct. 910, we believe that the court below should be the first to consider the merits of the federal constitutional claim, free from any doubts as to its justiciability and as to the merits of alleged arbitrary and invidious geographical discrimination. The judgment is vacated and the case is remanded for further consideration in the light of Baker v. Carr, supra.

The motions to substitute Paul R. Screvane in the place of Abe Stark, and Eugene H. Nickerson in the place of A. Holly Patterson, as parties appellee are granted.

Judgment vacated and case remanded.

Mr. Justice FRANKFURTER took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.

Mr. Justice HARLAN, dissenting.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).