City of Mobile v. Bolden
United States Supreme Court
446 U.S. 55, 100 S.Ct. 1490, 64 L.Ed.2d 47 (1980)
The City of Mobile, Alabama (defendant) was governed by a city commission consisting of three members who jointly exercised all legislative, executive, and administrative powers in the municipality. As required by state law, candidates for the city commission ran for election for four-year terms. Selection of the commission’s members was by a vote of the city at large, with a majority vote necessary to secure a position. The practical result of the at-large voting scheme was that it was more difficult for minorities to elect commissioners representing their interests. No Black citizens had ever been elected to Mobile’s city commission. Wiley Bolden (plaintiff) filed a class-action suit against Mobile and its then commissioners (defendants) on behalf of all Mobile’s Black citizens. Bolden alleged that Mobile’s electoral system violated the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. The district court held for Bolden, finding Mobile’s process unconstitutional. The court of appeals affirmed, and Mobile appealed to the United States Supreme Court.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Stewart, J.)
Concurrence (Stevens, J.)
Concurrence (Blackmun, J.)
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