City of Lockhart v. United States

PETITIONER: City of Lockhart
RESPONDENT: United States
LOCATION: Residence of Gates

DOCKET NO.: 81-802
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1981-1986)

CITATION: 460 US 125 (1983)
ARGUED: Nov 03, 1982
DECIDED: Feb 23, 1983

Jose Garza - on behalf of Appellee
Walter H. Mizzell - on behalf of Appellant
Walter H. Mizell - on behalf of the appellant -- rebuttal

Facts of the case


Media for City of Lockhart v. United States

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 03, 1982 in City of Lockhart v. United States

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - February 23, 1983 in City of Lockhart v. United States

Warren E. Burger:

The judgments and opinions in the three cases will be announced by Justice Powell.

Lewis F. Powell, Jr.:

The first of these cases, 81-802, City of Lockhart against the United States involves a Voting Rights Act of 1965.

It is here from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, Appellant, a small community in Texas, changed its form of Government in 1973.

The new charter provided for a mayor and four councilmen replacing a mayor and two commissioners, the various proceedings after various proceedings not irrelevant.

The District Court held that the new charter was subject to Section 5 of the Act and concluded provisions for numbered post and staggered post that had a discriminatory effect on protected minorities.

The District Court did not consider whether the plan also had a discriminatory purpose.

We agree that Section 5 required preclearance of the entire plan.

We do not agree that it had a discriminatory effect.

In 1976, in Beer against the United States, we held that Section 5 applies only to changes in voting procedures that have a retrogressive effect on minority voting strength.

Applying the principle of our decision in Beer, we hold that the use of numbered post and staggered terms in the city's new plan will not have a retrogressive effect.

Accordingly, we vacate the decision of the District Court and remand the case for further proceedings.

Justices Marshall and Blackmun have filed opinions concurring in part and dissenting in part.

Justice White dissents.