The sole issue raised by this case is how compliance with the one-man, one-vote principle should be achieved in a parish (county) that is admittedly malapportioned.
Plaintiff Zimmer, a white resident of East Carroll Parish, La., brought suit in 1968 alleging that population disparities among the wards of the parish had unconstitutionally
The proceedings were renewed in 1971 after the District Court, apparently sua sponte, instructed the East Carroll police jury and school board to file reapportionment plans revised in accordance with the 1970 census. In response, the jury and board resubmitted the at-large plan. Respondent Marshall was permitted to intervene on behalf of himself and all other black voters in East Carroll. Following a hearing the District Court again
Over a dissent, a panel of the Court of Appeals affirmed,
We granted certiorari, 422 U.S. 1055 (1975), and now affirm the judgment below, but without approval of the constitutional views expressed by the Court of Appeals.
The District Court, in adopting the multimember, at-large reapportionment plan, was silent as to the relative merits of a single-member arrangement. And the Court of Appeals, inexplicably in our view, declined to consider whether the District Court erred under Connor v. Johnson, 402 U.S. 690 (1971), in endorsing a multimember plan, resting its decision instead upon constitutional grounds. We have frequently reaffirmed the rule that when United States district courts are put to the task of fashioning reapportionment plans to supplant concededly invalid state legislation, single-member districts are to be preferred absent unusual circumstances. Chapman v. Meier, 420 U.S. 1, 17-19 (1975); Mahan v. Howell, 410 U.S. 315, 333 (1973); Connor v. Williams, 404 U.S. 549, 551 (1972); Connor v. Johnson, supra, at 692. As the en banc opinion of the Court of Appeals amply demonstrates, no special circumstances here dictate the use of multimember districts. Thus, we hold that in shaping remedial relief the District Court abused
On this basis, the judgment is
MR. CHIEF JUSTICE BURGER, concurring.
I consider it unnecessary to reach the question discussed, ante, at 638-639, n. 6. It was, as the Court observes in n. 6, "not raised by the petitioners, nor did respondent file a cross-petition." The scope of § 5 of the Voting Rights Act is an important matter, and I would not undertake to express any view on what the Court discusses by way of dicta in n. 6.
Both Acts were submitted to the United States Attorney General pursuant to § 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, 79 Stat. 439, as amended, 42 U. S. C. § 1973c, and both were rejected because of their discriminatory effect on Negro voters. See letters, June 26, 1969, and Sept. 10, 1969, from Jerris Leonard, Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division, to Jack P. F. Gremillion, Attorney General of Louisiana. Indeed, East Carroll Parish was cited as exemplifying the dilution in black ballot strength that at-large voting may cause. Letter of Sept. 10, 1969.
During pendency of the appeal in the court below, the District Court purported to withdraw its order approving the at-large plan and to substitute in its stead a complex redistricting plan submitted by intervenor Marshall. The Court of Appeals vacated the order on the ground that when the appeal was filed, the District Court lost jurisdiction over the case. Id., at 1382.