Briscoe v. Bell

LOCATION: Coeur d’Alene Indian Reservation

DOCKET NO.: 76-60
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

CITATION: 432 US 404 (1977)
ARGUED: Apr 20, 1977
DECIDED: Jun 20, 1977

David M. Kendall, Jr. - for petitioners
Howard E. Shapiro - for respondents

Facts of the case


Media for Briscoe v. Bell

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 20, 1977 in Briscoe v. Bell

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - June 20, 1977 in Briscoe v. Bell

Warren E. Burger:

The judgment and opinion of the Court in 76-60, Briscoe, the Governor of Texas, against the Attorney General of the United States will be announced by Mr. Justice Marshall.

Thurgood Marshall:

This case is here in writ of certiorari to the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

The petitioners, the Governor and the Secretary of State of Texas brought this action in the District Court seeking to prevent respondents, the Attorney General of the United States, and the Director of the Census from making official determination that Texas was a jurisdiction covered by the Voting Rights Act of 1965 as amended in 1975 to cover discrimination against language minority groups.

Petitioner's basic claim was that the federal officials had misinterpreted Section 4 of the Act and deciding that Texas was covered.

Respondent opposed these claims on the merits and also argued in the District Court that the administrative coverage decision was completely unreviewable in any court.

The District Court found that it had very limited jurisdiction to ensure that respondents had correctly interpreted the statute and ruled against petitioners on all of their statutory claims.

The Court of Appeals affirmed both the jurisdictional subsequent rulings.

We find that the courts below lacks subject matter jurisdiction.

We hold that when Congress said in Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act that the administrative determinations "shall not be reviewable in any court", it meant exactly that.

Accordingly, we vacate the judgment of the Court of Appeals and order dismissal of petitioner's complaint.

Mr. Justice Powell concurs in the judgment.

Warren E. Burger:

Thank you, Mr. Justice Marshall.