Johnson v. De Grandy Page 30

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

Joel I. Klein:

--They have to show that the black voters in a single district, Justice Stevens, would make up a majority.

Now, in fact, the question that came up is if you assumed 20 percent blacks in that group and you have five seats, then if you had 12 percent of the blacks in a compact group they could constitute a majority in one of five.

But there's no question in--

John Paul Stevens:

Does that mean that in determining whether there's a violation or whether there's dilution, you ignore the other 8 percent?

Joel I. Klein:


Because you cannot... the State's drawing compact single district lines.

That's exactly what the Court says in Gingles itself.

In drawing a line... let's just think of the map as we draw it.

Here you have a group.

Let's say you have 5 percent of blacks who live in one part of this large county, and the other 15 percent are dispersed.

You cannot draw a single-district map that would give them a majority.

It can't be done.

You've got to give them a gerrymander of extreme proportion.

If that's true, the question is under section 2, what is the State procedure or standard that's diluting their vote?

And the Court in Gingles says there is none because the lines can't do it.

So I submit to you at a minimum... and that's why I think it's called the precondition... if a group of minorities, of any group of minorities, if that group cannot make up a majority within a compact single district, they have no vote dilution claim.

Their vote, if it's diluted so to speak, is diluted not by the State but by geography, and section 2 doesn't address it.

The last point I'd make before I sit down is you notice nobody mentioned the issue of citizenship.

And the reason is whatever else is said, there is Statewide proportionality on the basis of citizenship.

And the statute, clear as it can be, refers to citizens, not to population.

We submit, thank you.

William H. Rehnquist:

Thank you, Mr. Klein.

The case is submitted.

The honorable court is now adjurned until tomorrow at ten o'clock.