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Reynolds v. Sims

United States Supreme Court
377 U.S. 533 (1964)



In 1961, Sims and other resident voters in Jefferson County, Alabama (plaintiffs) brought suit against Reynolds and the State of Alabama (defendants) in federal district court alleging that the last apportionment of the Alabama legislature was based on the 1900 federal census, despite the Alabama Constitution’s requirement that the legislature be reapportioned every ten years. Sims asserted that since the population growth in the state from 1900 to 1960 had been uneven, Jefferson and other counties had become victims of serious discrimination regarding the allocation of legislative representation. Sims argued that the legislature’s failure to reapportion itself constituted a denial of “equal suffrage in free and equal elections,” as well as a denial of the equal protection of the laws in violation of the Alabama Constitution and the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. The district court held that the inequalities in the Alabama legislature violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and Reynolds appealed to the United States Supreme Court.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Warren, C.J.)

Concurrence (Clark, J.)

Concurrence/Dissent (Stewart, J.)

Dissent (Harlan, J.)

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