Johnson v. De Grandy Page 15

Johnson v. De Grandy general information

Media for Johnson v. De Grandy

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 04, 1993 in Johnson v. De Grandy

James A. Feldman:

Because if they weren't cohesive, the Hispanic districts wouldn't... they wouldn't be able, if they formed their own districts, to elect the candidates of their choice.

And whether they would... those districts would have Hispanic majorities, that was what most of the trial was about.

William H. Rehnquist:

Mr. Feldman, on page 40a of the Appendix to the Jurisdictional Statement where you get to part B of the court's opinion, that first sentence is the plaintiffs... that the Dade County's...

"the Dade County's Hispanic population is sufficiently large and geographically compact to constitute a majority in 4 Senate and 11 House districts. "

That sounds to me as if they were thinking in terms of Dade County and not of the State at large.

James A. Feldman:

I think... I think it may be inartfully drawn.

William H. Rehnquist:

But it's very difficult to contend otherwise, at least with respect to that particular sentence.

James A. Feldman:

I think what they meant in that sentence was that the vote dilution that had occurred... I mean, what you had was a practice where Hispanics could only elect other Hispanics... or could only elect candidates of their choice where they were the majority... where they were in the majority in a district.

And that the State had deliberately drawn lines to fragment Hispanic populations in Miami... or the State had drawn lines that had the effect of fragmenting Hispanics in the State of Miami... I'm sorry, excuse me, in Dade County.

And what the court was saying was that was where the dilution... you could kind of... you could point to it there.

And it was focusing on all of the evidence that it heard at trial about whether those districts were viable and whether... and whether that fragmentation of the Hispanic populations had occurred.

William H. Rehnquist:

Well, we're told by the Appellants that the case was tried, basically, on the basis of Dade County.

You're telling us no, it wasn't, it was State wide.

We weren't there.

We have to look at places like this to try to make a judgment between the two of you.

And it seems to me a statement like this in the opinion does cut against your point of view.

James A. Feldman:

I would agree with you that it cuts against my... our point of view.

What I would say is that if you... you can't look at this case and make sense of what happened in terms of 8 days, or however many it was, at the end of June in 1992.

You have to look at the whole case.

And there had already been another opinion issued in the case that had extensive findings, and you have to look at the findings that were made here in light of that and in light of all of the evidence.

If the Court... I think if you look at all of that, you see that it was a Statewide claim from the very beginning.

John Paul Stevens:

Mr. Feldman, could you... there's an awful lot of pages here to look through, as we understand.

Could you pinpoint what you think is the strongest statement in any of the three opinions saying that they're cohesive Statewide and compact Statewide?

James A. Feldman:

But that... first of all, I don't think... well, as to compactness, I don't know what it would mean to say that they're compact Statewide.

Counsel talked about Davis and Bandemer.

There was no showing in Davis and Bandemer that the Democrats were throughout the State in some proportion, or only in one part of the State, or several parts of the State.

John Paul Stevens:

No, but I think a lot of the people assume that within the Hispanic community there are Cuban Americans who tend to vote very regular... very conservative Republicans, and there are a lot of agricultural workers and the rest, who have a different Hispanic origin, who tend to vote Democratic.

I assume that's true in Florida.

It's probably true nationwide.

Does there... is there anything in the record to tell us?