Swann v. Adams

PETITIONER: Swann
RESPONDENT: Adams
LOCATION: Bellmawr, New Jersey Police Department

DOCKET NO.: 136
DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1965-1967)
LOWER COURT:

CITATION: 385 US 440 (1967)
ARGUED: Dec 06, 1966
DECIDED: Jan 09, 1967

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Swann v. Adams

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - December 06, 1966 in Swann v. Adams

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - January 09, 1967 in Swann v. Adams

Byron R. White:

I have the opinion and the judgment of The Court in Richard Swann against Tom Adams, Secretary of State of Florida.

On March 19, 1966 State of Florida reapportioned the state legislature.

The new plan called the 48 senators and 117 representatives.

Senate districts range in size from 87,000 to 114,000, or from 15% over the average and 10% into the average with a ratio of 1.3:1 between the largest and the smallest district.

The deviation from average is over 15% in one district, 14% in five others, and more than 10% and still 6 six others, the variation is among else districts are somewhat more severe.

The District Court without articulating any reasons for the variations to this magnitude approved the plan.

We reverse while Reynolds and Sims and other cases in the reapportionment area have recognized that legislative districts need not be mathematically equal in population, and that minor variations are acceptable.

None of these cases has approved variations of the magnitude involved in this case, at least without acceptable justification.

Here neither the State nor the District Court made any serious efforts to explain or justify the particular deviations which this reapportionment plan presents.

We therefore reverse without reaching any of the other objections which the appellants have presented to the plan.

Mr. Justice Harlan has asked me to announce that he has filed the dissenting opinion in which Mr. Justice Stewart has joined.