Harris v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Comm’n

Summarized by:

  • Court: United States Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Constitutional Law
  • Date Filed: April 20, 2016
  • Case #: 14-232
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: BREYER, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court.
  • Full Text Opinion

The State of Arizona did not violate the Fourteenth Amendment when the redrawing of the State legislative districts resulted in a population deviation of 8.8%.

Arizona redraws the State’s 30 legislative districts after a census is completed every 10 years. In 2010 they redrew the districts and the Department of Justice approved a revised plan with a population deviation of 8.8%. A group of Arizona voters challenged the redistricting plan arguing that it was inadequately equal in population; therefore it violated the Fourteenth Amendment. A Federal District Court ruled in favor of the Respondent, holding that the population deviations were predominantly an outcome of honest efforts to comply with the Voting Rights Act and was not a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Court held that minor deviations from mathematical equality, specifically deviations under 10%, do not prove a prima facie case of discrimination under the Fourteenth Amendment. Where the deviation is less than 10%, a Petitioner must display that it is more likely than not that the deviation reveals the prevalence of illegitimate considerations. The deviations present showed that the Respondent aimed at complying with the Voting Rights Act and not towards securing political advantage for one party over another, therefore the Petitioner did not meet their burden of proving that it was more likely that the deviation revealed improper considerations. AFFIRMED

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