Karcher v. Daggett
|Karcher v. Daggett|
|Argued March 2, 1983
Decided June 22, 1983
|Full case name||Karcher, Speaker, New Jersey Assembly, et al. v. Daggett, et al.|
|Citations||462 U.S. 725 (more)
103 S. Ct. 2653; 77 L. Ed. 2d 133; 1983 U.S. LEXIS 75; 51 U.S.L.W. 4853
|Prior history||Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey|
|New Jersey's plan may not be regarded per se as the product of a good faith effort to achieve population equality merely because the maximum population deviation among districts is smaller than the predictable undercount in available census data.|
|Majority||Brennan, joined by Marshall, Blackmun, Stevens, O'Connor|
|Dissent||White, joined by Burger, Powell, Rehnquist|
|U.S. Const. Art. 1 § 2|
The New Jersey Legislature adopted a redistricting plan which resulted in a one percent population difference between the largest and smallest districts. Several citizens came forward and challenged the legislation, claiming it violated Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution. The district court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and determined the law to be unconstitutional. The defendants appealed to the Supreme Court.
The "equal representation" standard of Article I, Section 2 requires districts to be apportioned to population equality to the closest possible degree. The population differences here could have been avoided with a good faith effort to achieve population equality. The Court found that the defendants did not meet their burden of proving that the deviations in their plan were necessary to achieve a consistent, nondiscriminatory redistricting. The State had to prove specifically how and why the specific deviations of its plan were for an objective to benefit the system. The defendant tried to prove that the justification for the high deviations was to preserve voting strength of minority groups. However, the court believed that the state could not prove that the population disparities preserved the voting strength of these minority groups.
Opinion of the Court
The Supreme Court upheld the district courts decision based on the evidence and findings and found the redistricting to be unconstitutional in regards to Article I, section 2. The State was compelled to enact a new redistricting plan that followed smaller population deviations of district size.
This case outlines the importance of redistricting fairly in regards to population size. Or that if there is a goal to preserve a minority area, there must be compelling evidence to indicate that the redistricting plan that does not follow low deviations will successfully preserve the minority vote.