MR. JUSTICE WHITE delivered the opinion of the Court.
This appeal is the latest step in the long and fitful attempt to devise a constitutionally valid reapportionment scheme for the State of Arizona. For the reasons given, we affirm the judgment of the District Court.
In April 1964, shortly before this Court's decision in Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533 (1964), and in its companion cases, suit was filed in the District Court for the District of Arizona attacking the then-existing state districting laws as unconstitutional.
Noting that the legislature "has had ample opportunity" to produce a valid reapportionment plan, the court formulated its own plan as a "temporary and provisional reapportionment," designed to govern the impending preparation for the 1966 elections. The plan was to be in effect "for the 1966 primary and general elections and for such further elections as may follow until such time as the Legislature itself may adopt different and valid plans for districting and reapportionment."
Some 16 months later, in June 1967, the Arizona Legislature enacted "Chapter 1, 28th Legislature," which again attempted reapportionment of the State. Within the month, suit was filed charging that this Act also was unconstitutional, but the court deferred action pending the outcome of a referendum
The legislature attempted a third time to enact a valid plan. It passed "Chapter 1, House Bill No. 1, 29th Legislature," which was signed into law by the Governor on January 22, 1970, and which is the plan involved in the decision from which this appeal is taken. Appellant challenged the bill, alleging that it "substantially disenfranchises, unreasonably and unnecessarily, a large number of the citizens of the state," App. 106, and "creates legislative districts that are grossly unequal." App. 108. Appellant at that time submitted his own plan for the court's consideration. Appellant's primary dispute with new plan was that it substantially misconceived the current population distribution in Arizona. The court agreed that appellant's plan, which utilized 1968 projections of 1960 and 1965 Arizona censuses, could "very likely [result in] a valid reapportionment plan" but it declined to implement the plan, since it was based on census tracts, rather than the existing precinct boundaries, and "the necessary reconstruction of the election
Turning to the legislature's plan, the court found it wanting in several respects. First, though the result indicated population deviation between high and low districts of only 1.8%, the population formula used
The court was thus faced with a situation where both its 1966 plan and the legislature's latest attempt fell short of the constitutional standard. At that time, however, the 1970 elections were "close at hand." The court concluded that another legislative effort was "out of the question" due to the time and felt that it could not itself devise a new plan without delaying primary elections, "a course which would involve serious risk of confusion and chaos." Ibid. It considered at-large elections, but the prospect of electing 90 legislators at large was deemed so repugnant as to be justified only if the legislature's actions had been "deliberate and inexcusable"; the court instead believed that the large population increase in Arizona since the last reliable census in 1960 was more to blame. Concluding that the 1970 elections would be the last to be held before the 1970 census data became available for new plans, the court chose what it considered the lesser of two evils and ordered the elections to be conducted under the legislature's plan. In its order to this effect, the court noted that it "assumes that the Arizona Legislature will by November 1, 1971, enact a valid plan of reapportionment," but that "[u]pon failure of the Legislature so to do, any party to this action may apply to the court for appropriate relief." Id., at 154.
The state officials did not seek review of the District Court's judgment declaring Chapter 1 unconstitutional. Appellant, however appealed to this Court. His notice of appeal was filed on June 18, 1970, his jurisdictional statement on August 17, 1970. The latter presented the single question whether it was error for the United States
Meanwhile, the 1970 elections were held in accordance with the District Court's decree. Appellees suggest that the issue presented is moot and appellant concedes "the 1970 general election has already been held so that that aspect of the wrong cannot be remedied." Brief 8. But appellant now argues that however that may be, the District Court should now proceed to adopt a plan of reapportionment which would be displaced only upon the adoption of a valid plan by the legislature. Appellant doubts that postponing judicial action until after November 1 will give the District Court sufficient time, prior to June 1972, when the election process must begin in Arizona, to consider the legislative plan and to prepare its own plan if the legislative effort does not comply with the Constitution. The feared result is that another election under an unconstitutional plan would be held in Arizona.
Reapportionment history in the State lends some substance to these fears, but as we have often noted, districting and apportionment are legislative tasks in the first instance,
It is so ordered.
The complaint in this case was filed on April 27, 1964. The District Court stayed all proceedings on June 25, 1964, until after the next regular session of the legislature and, when nothing was achieved, stayed them again until after a special session. A reapportionment plan produced by that legislature was held unconstitutional. 250 F.Supp. 537.
Thereupon the District Court drew a "temporary and provisional" plan for the general elections of 1966 and 1968. See 254 F.Supp. 997; 289 F.Supp. 827; 303 F.Supp. 224. In 1967 the legislature produced another plan which was approved by the voters and became effective January 17, 1969. This plan was also declared unconstitutional by the District Court on July 22, 1969. The legislature then adopted a new plan effective January 22, 1970. The District Court allowed this plan to be used for the 1970 general election, although it considered the plan to be unconstitutional. The District Court in its decree provided:
The District Court also retained jurisdiction of the cause. 313 F.Supp. 148.
Since Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533, Arizona has not had a constitutionally valid apportionment plan. Members of the Arizona Legislature who were elected in the 1970 election were elected under a plan the District Court held unconstitutional. Under that plan a computer was instructed to redistrict the State and to accomplish, in order, the following objectives: (1) to make the districts as equal in population as possible; (2) to circumscribe the districts in such a way that each included one incumbent senator and two incumbent representatives; (3) to make the districts compact; and (4) to make districts politically homogeneous.
Even assuming the legislative districts were of equal population the plan would have several practical deficiencies as far as minority representation goes. The 1970 plan insured that no incumbent would be running against another incumbent, as often may happen under a reapportionment plan. Thus the opportunity for preserving the status quo was assisted.
An effort to make each district politically homogeneous compounded this problem. The record provides a new definition of gerrymandering. A gerrymandered district in Arizona is not one where a "natural" majority finds its power erased by either moving lines to increase the numbers of the opposition in the district or by moving the lines so that a majority is dispersed. In Arizona a gerrymandered district came to be one that is overwhelmingly either Republican or Democratic. Thus when the second and fourth factors are combined an incumbent had not only the natural benefits of incumbency,
The record reveals that the 1970 plan heavily favored incumbents even if we assumed equal population districts. Such an assumption, of course, is contrary to the facts; deviations in Arizona ranged from about 24% above the median to about 52% below the median.
The basic unit for a district was the local political precinct. Unfortunately, there were no population figures for the basic unit, thus making it difficult to build the districts. Such figures were created by programming the computer to assume that a precinct population was that part of the 1960 county population which the number of registered voters in the precinct in 1968 bore to the number of registered voters in the country in 1968.
If all segments of society were equally likely to register to vote, then the Arizona method of computing population would be unobjectionable. But all members of a community are not equally likely to register. For example, only two counties out of eight with Spanish surname populations in excess of 15% showed a voter registration equal to the statewide average.
The 1970 plan adversely affected minorities. Because of the registration statistics used, one district in the Phoenix ghetto had approximately 70,000 residents while an affluent all-white district in another area of Phoenix had only 27,000 residents. The Indian reservation area in northeastern Arizona fared little better. While it had sufficient numbers of Indians to justify a separate district which could undoubtedly elect Indian representatives in the state legislature, the Indians were done in. At the time of this suit there were no Indians elected to either the State House or Senate. But just to the south of the area two state senators lived 10 miles apart. Hence, the incumbency rule was invoked to split the Indian area so as to accommodate the two white senators.
The Arizona Legislature has yet to develop a reapportionment plan which can pass constitutional muster. The incumbents who now have the opportunity to draft
On oral argument it was said that there is no point in initiating the design of a reapportionment plan now because the 1970 census figures are not available. That argument is difficult to comprehend, for it appears
It has indicated it will wait until November 1, 1971, before it initiates a constitutional plan. The hearings on such a plan will doubtless be long drawn out and extensive. The prize is great, for if the present incumbents can prolong matters, the 1972 election may come and go with the existing invalid 1970 plan in effect. It is not difficult to imagine how easy that strategy might be. The 1972 primaries in Arizona are in September.
Primaries apart, there is always the problem of review by this Court. We are plagued with election cases coming here on the eve of elections, with the remaining
It is, therefore, essential that the judicial machinery be put into motion soon, so that a resolution of a matter
MR. JUSTICE HARLAN concurs in the result upon the premises set forth in his separate opinions in Whitcomb v. Chavis, post, p. 165; Oregon v. Mitchell, 400 U.S. 112, 152 (1970); and Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533, 589 (1964).
"[L]egislative reapportionment is primarily a matter for legislative consideration and determination, and . . . judicial relief becomes appropriate only when a legislature fails to reapportion according to federal constitutional requisites in a timely fashion after having had an adequate opportunity to do so."
A challenge to Colorado's durational residency requirement prior to the 1968 election did not fare as well. The District Court upheld the requirement and we heard oral argument after the election was over. The case was dismissed as moot. Hall v. Beals, 396 U.S. 45.
Durational residency requirements have come before the Court several times this Term. In Hayes v. Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii, there was a challenge to the Hawaii durational residency requirement for candidates. The Hawaii Supreme Court upheld the law in late August. An application for an injunction was denied. When the appeal finally came up for consideration on the merits, again after the election, it was dismissed as moot, 401 U.S. 968. In Sirak v. Brown a state durational residency requirement for voters was upheld and, when this Court denied an injunction, 400 U.S. 809, the plaintiff chose not to docket his appeal, probably on the basis of Hall v. Beals, supra. A similar issue was present in Fitzpatrick v. Board of Election Comm'rs of Chicago, where we denied a motion to expedite the appeal, 401 U.S. 905. Had all the lower courts followed Drueding v. Devlin, 234 F.Supp. 721 (Md. 1964), aff'd, 380 U.S. 125, then mootness might have prevented any plenary review of the issue. But several district courts have concluded that subsequent decisions have undermined Drueding and thus have invalidated durational residency requirements. This avoids the mootness issue and we have noted probable jurisdiction in one such case, Ellington v. Blumstein, 401 U.S. 934.
In Beller v. Kirk there was a challenge to the Florida requirement demanding an independent candidate obtain 5% of the registered voters to sign a petition so that he could get on the ballot. Injunctive relief was denied by individual Justices early in October, but the case has subsequently been docketed sub nom. Beller v. Askew, No. 1360. We have heard oral argument on the same issue in Jenness v. Fortson, No. 5714.
The Ohio laws are involved in several cases pending this Term. In one, the District Court handed down its decision late in July 1970. By that decision several sections of the Ohio laws were invalidated and we noted probable jurisdiction. Gilligan v. Sweetenham, 401 U.S. 991. A loyalty oath was upheld and we noted probable jurisdiction in that case. Socialist Labor Party v. Gilligan, 401 U.S. 991. The court also upheld a provision requiring independent candidates to file at the same time as major party candidates. Sweetenham v. Gilligan, No. 790. A similar issue is also presented in Pratt v. Begley, No. 1044, where the District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky made its ruling in early October.
The then-forthcoming Chicago election in April 1971 also presented cases where one of the parties needed immediate action. In Jackson v. Ogilvie, the issue was the requirement that an independent obtain 5% of the registered voters on a nominating petition. We denied a stay on February 22, 1971, 401 U.S. 904, and there was no way the case could be heard prior to the election.
Through all these cases Williams v. Rhodes stands out as exceptional, because both the necessary preargument injunctive relief and expedited oral argument were obtained.