Friday, December 27, 2013

Davis v. Bandemer case brief

Davis v. Bandemer case brief summary
478 U.S. 109 (1986)

CASE SYNOPSIS
Appellants, various state officials, sought review of an order of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana holding that a legislative district reapportionment plan was an unconstitutional political gerrymander that violated equal protection.

CASE FACTS
Appellees filed suit against appellants, several state officials, claiming that a legislative reapportionment plan constituted a political gerrymander intended to disadvantage Democrats across the state. The trial court declared the reapportionment unconstitutional, and appellants sought review.

DISCUSSION
  • On appeal, the Court found that although the issue was justiciable, the trial court used an insufficiently demanding standard to find unconstitutional vote dilution. 
  • The Court held that a threshold showing of discriminatory vote dilution was required for a prima facie case of an equal protection violation and that the findings made by the trial court of an adverse effect on appellees did not surmount the threshold requirement. 
  • Appellees did not meet their burden of showing both intentional discrimination against an identifiable political group and an actual discriminatory effect on the group. 
  • The trial court judgment was reversed.

CONCLUSION
The Court reversed judgment that a legislative district reapportionment plan was an unconstitutional political gerrymander where, although the issue was justiciable, the lower court used an insufficiently demanding standard in finding unconstitutional vote dilution.

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