Johnson v. De Grandy Page 16

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

John Paul Stevens:

For example, do the Hispanics in the Tampa area vote the same way as the Cuban Americans in Miami, or anything... any light on that at all?

James A. Feldman:

Well, I can cite you the voluminous exhibits showing the runs of election after election.

I mean there... it is... the Hispanics in Florida are not uniform, nor does any minority group vote uniform anywhere.

And there are local variations and there's also... it just... and even in any given locality, the minority group is not going to vote 100 percent cohesively.

John Paul Stevens:

Well, apart from looking at reams and reams of exhibits.

James A. Feldman:


John Paul Stevens:

Is there any statement anywhere that is as succinct as the one the Chief Justice pointed you to, but pointing in the opposite direction?

James A. Feldman:

Well, if you look at the... the JSF in that, I think '92, 5/19, if you look at page 79a, they... the court says at the bottom of that page, and carrying over to the next one: "The parties agree"...

"The parties agree that racially polarized voting exists throughout Florida to varying degrees. "

"The results of Florida's legislative elections over the past 10 years established the presence of racially polarized voting. "

Racially polarized voting, as this Court knows and as was made clear in Gingles, has two components: that the minority group votes cohesively and that the majority votes usually as a bloc to defeat minority candidates.

There are also... that same finding in different terms, and sometimes in stronger terms, I think as I was saying before, was made by the special master... some of these other things are in the Joint Appendix and not in the JSF.

And the independent expert--

John Paul Stevens:

Yes, but your statement that racially polarized voting exists throughout Florida to varying degrees could mean that in Dade County there's racially polarized voting among blacks that is contra to the way the Cuban Americans vote, and that there's racially polarized voting in Tampa that's contra to either of those two groups.

I mean, it really doesn't... that certainly doesn't tell us that all Hispanics vote... tend to vote in the same way.

Indeed, the rest of that paragraph doesn't even speak about Hispanics.

It speaks about African-Americans.

James A. Feldman:


But this opinion clearly addresses... they then go on to give some specific facts about African-Americans, but the opinion addresses the voting rights situation with respect to both Hispanics and African-Americans.

The whole litigation was concerned about both groups and in the congressional phase they were extremely concerned with both groups as to whether they were going to... whether they were required to draw districts for that.

Sandra Day O'Connor:

But the paragraph you refer to... us to, starting on page 79a does appear, at least, at the end of the paragraph, to refer just to African-Americans.

James A. Feldman:

Yes, well I can--

Ruth Bader Ginsburg:

Where do you extract from this opinion an indication that it's proper on your Statewide frame to bracket the Hispanics outside Dade County with the Hispanics inside, rather than with African-Americans.

James A. Feldman:

--Well, I think... that's how I read the finding that there's racially polarized voting in Florida.

I think the natural... that the natural meaning of those words is that, especially in the context of a case where this was the type of issue that was litigated throughout.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg:

It's certainly a Delphic way of putting it, isn't it?

James A. Feldman:

I beg your pardon?

Ruth Bader Ginsburg:

It's Delphic, isn't it, to get all that out of racially polarized voting, which could mean Hispanics and African-Americans versus whites?

James A. Feldman:

Your Honor, the... if you... the... if you go beyond the three-judge court, it adopted findings that a special master had made.

As I recall, the special master's findings were in similar terms.