United States Supreme Court
446 U.S. 55 (1980)
The City of Mobile, Alabama (defendant) was governed in all aspects by its City Commission. The City Commission consisted of three elected members that jointly exercised all legislative, executive, and administrative powers in the municipality. As required by state law, each candidate for the Mobile City Commission ran for election for a term of four years in one of three numbered posts and could be elected only by a majority of the total vote. Since each Commissioner was elected by the entire city, the practical result of this system was that it was more difficult for a geographically concentrated constituency, such as African Americans, to elect a Commission sympathetic to their interests. As a result, there had never been an African American Commissioner elected. Bolden (plaintiff) filed a class action suit on behalf of all the City’s African American residents in federal district court alleging that the city’s electoral system violated the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. The district court held for Bolden, finding the City’s process unconstitutional. The court of appeals affirmed, and the City of Mobile appealed to the United States Supreme Court.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Stewart, J.)
Dissent (White, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.
Here's why 241,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,200 briefs, keyed to 189 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.