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Baker v. Carr

United States Supreme Court
369 U.S. 186 (1962)



Baker (plaintiff) was a Republican living in Shelby County, Tennessee. The Tennessee Constitution required that legislative districts be redrawn every ten years to adjust for changes in population. Baker brought suit against Carr (defendant), Secretary of State in Tennessee, in his official capacity alleging that because Tennessee had not actually redistricted since 1901, the urban Shelby County district had ten times as many residents as did the more rural districts. As a result, Baker argued that rural votes counted more than urban votes, and that he was thus denied equal protection of the laws. The State of Tennessee argued that legislative districting issues were not judicial questions but political questions, and were thus not capable of being decided by the courts based on the Constitution’s prohibition on the Court’s deciding political questions.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Brennan, J.)

Concurrence (Douglas, J.)

Concurrence (Clark, J.)

Concurrence (Stewart, J.)

Dissent (Frankfurter, J.)

Dissent (Harlan, J.)

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