City of Port Arthur v. United States

PETITIONER: City of Port Arthur
RESPONDENT: United States
LOCATION: Mobile, Alabama

DOCKET NO.: 81-708
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1981-1986)
LOWER COURT:

CITATION: 459 US 159 (1982)
ARGUED: Oct 06, 1982
DECIDED: Dec 13, 1982

ADVOCATES:
Carter G. Phillips - on behalf of the Appellee
Robert Q. Keith - on behalf of the Appellant

Facts of the case

Question

Media for City of Port Arthur v. United States

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 06, 1982 in City of Port Arthur v. United States

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - December 13, 1982 in City of Port Arthur v. United States

Warren E. Burger:

The judgment and opinion of the Court in City of Port – Port Arthur, Texas against the United States will be announced by Justice White.

Byron R. White:

Well, this case is here on appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia and it concerns the legality of the form of government of the city of Port Arthur, Texas.

After two consolidations and – and annexation, the city revised its form of government and submitted the new system to the Attorney General for preclearance pursuant to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of – of 1965.

When the Attorney General refused the –- to approve the plan, the city filed suit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia seeking a judgment that the revised form of government did not have the purpose or effect of abridging the right to vote on the –- on the ground of a race.

While the suit was pending, the city revised its city government again.

The District Court held that both the most recent revision and the prior one were -- were adopted for a racially discriminatory purpose and hence could not be approved.

The United States and the City then came up with still another plan and submitted it to the Court.

The Court also refused to approve this plan but indicated that the result would be different if the city would eliminate the majority-vote requirement into at large City council –- councilmanic districts.

The city didn't like that result and appealed here and we affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeals.

For the reasons that we give and the opinion on file with the clerk, we do not think the District Court exceeded its authority under the Voting Rights – under the Voting Rights Act and conditioning its approval upon the elimination of the majority-vote requirement.

Justice Powell has filed a dissenting opinion in which Justice Rehnquist and Justice O'Connor joined.

Warren E. Burger:

Thank you, Justice White.