Ball v. James

LOCATION:The United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana

DOCKET NO.: 79-1740
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

CITATION: 451 US 355 (1981)
ARGUED: Feb 23, 1981
DECIDED: Apr 29, 1981

Bruce E. Meyerson – on behalf of Roland James et al
Rex E. Lee – on behalf of the Appellants

Facts of the case


Media for Ball v. James

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument – February 23, 1981 in Ball v. James

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement – April 29, 1981 in Ball v. James

Warren E. Burger:

The judgment and opinion of the Court in 79-1740, Ball against James, and in 80-317, University of Texas against Camenisch will each be announced by Justice Stewart.

Potter Stewart:

The first of these cases, No. 79-174, Ball against James is here on appeal from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

This case concerns the constitutionality of the system for electing the directors of a large water reclamation district in Arizona, an electoral system which limits voting eligibility to landowners and apportions voting power according to the amount of land a voter owns.

The case requires us to consider whether the peculiarly narrow function of this local governmental body and the special relationship of one class of citizens to that body releases it from the strict demands of the one-person, one-vote principle of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

For the reason stated in the opinion of the Court filed today, we hold in disagreement with the Court of Appeals that this system for electing directors does not violate the constitution.

Justice Powell while joining the opinion of the Court has filed a concurring opinion.

Justice White has filed a dissenting opinion which Justice Brennan, Justice Marshall, and Justice Blackmun have joined.