Kirkpatrick v. Preisler

PETITIONER: Kirkpatrick
LOCATION: Stanley's Home

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1967-1969)

CITATION: 394 US 526 (1969)
ARGUED: Jan 13, 1969
DECIDED: Apr 07, 1969

Facts of the case


Media for Kirkpatrick v. Preisler

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 13, 1969 in Kirkpatrick v. Preisler

Earl Warren:

30, James C. Kirkpatrick, Secretary of State of Missouri, et al. appellants versus Paul W. Preisler, et al.

And oh yes, 31 F. V. Heinkel, et al. appellants versus Preisler, et al.

Mr. Downey.

Thomas J. Downey:

May it please the Court, Mr. Chief Justice.

This is an appeal from the judgment and decree of the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri, which found that the 1967 Missouri Congressional Redistricting Act did not meet the requirements of Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution.

Two members of the court concurred in the majority opinion.

One member of the court dissented.

The Act in question was drafted and became law by the Missouri legislature in 1967 following the invalidation of a prior Congressional Redistricting Act.

The Missouri Legislature has called a general assembly meets according to the Missouri Constitution for a period of six months every two years.

It convenes in January and its term expires the last day of June.

The legislature began considering congressional redistricting in 1967 early in the legislative session, and during the six-month period more than 16 different proposed bills were considered by the legislature.

And in the final week of the legislative session, the 1967 Act was passed.

It takes a constitutional majority in each House of the Missouri legislature for any law to be passed.

There are 163 members of the lower house and it takes 82 votes to pass a bill.

There are 34 members in the Senate.

It takes 18 votes to pass a bill.

The political complexion of the General Assembly in 1967 was 107 Democrats in the lower house and 56 Republicans.

In the upper house, it was 23 Democrats and 11 Republicans.

The Act which we have under consideration before the Court here today when it was before the lower house, received a negative vote of all 56 Republicans.

The Act on original consideration in the Senate received a negative of all 11 Republicans.

On final enactment in the Senate, it received the votes of 10 Republicans, one being a negative vote.

Now I point this out to the Court because although the Republican Party did not consider this Act to be favorable to the Republican Party as far as a congressional redistricting plan was concerned.

The leaders of the Republican Party, the House leader and the Senate leader both testified before the lower court that they considered this Act to be a reasonable legislative compromise.

And that had they been in control of the legislature that in all likelihood, the political complexion of the districts would have been different.

But the numerical disparities in the districts would probably have been approximately the same.

That is the only significance in bringing out this particular factor.

Now what was the Act that was enacted?

Missouri according to the 1960 census passed a population or had a population of approximately 4,320,000 people.

Missouri was entitled to 10 congressmen.

Therefore, each congressional district if you had an ideal mathematical district in the state would have a population of approximately 431,000 people.