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Chisom v. Roemer

501 U.S. 380, 111 S. Ct. 2354, 115 L. Ed. 2d 348 (1991)

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Chisom v. Roemer

United States Supreme Court

501 U.S. 380, 111 S. Ct. 2354, 115 L. Ed. 2d 348 (1991)

Facts

The seven justices of the Louisiana Supreme Court were elected from districts. Five justices were elected from single-member districts, and two justices were elected from a single multi-member district. The multi-member district was comprised of four parishes. Three of the parishes were majority-White and one of the parishes, Orleans Parish, which contained roughly half of the district’s registered voters, was majority-Black. A class of Black voters (plaintiffs) sued the State of Louisiana through its governor, Roemer, (Louisiana) (defendant) for violation of § 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended in 1982 (§ 2), arguing that Louisiana’s use of the multi-member district illegally diluted minority votes. Louisiana moved to dismiss, arguing that, by its terms, the statute applied only to elections of representatives and that because judges are not representatives, the statute did not apply to judicial elections. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held that § 2 does not apply to judicial elections and remanded the case with instructions to dismiss the complaint. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Stevens, J.)

Dissent (Scalia, J.)

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