Tennant v. Jefferson County Commission

PETITIONER:Natalie E. Tennant, Earl Ray Tomblin, Jeffrey Kessler, and Richard Thompson, in their official capacities.
RESPONDENT:Jefferson County Commission, Patricia Noland (as an individual and on behalf of all others similarly situated), and Dale Manuel (as an individual and on behalf of all others similarly situated)
LOCATION: West Virginia House of Delegates

DOCKET NO.: 11-1184
DECIDED BY: Roberts Court (2010-2016)

CITATION: 567 US (2012)
GRANTED: Jan 20, 2012
DECIDED: Sep 25, 2012

Facts of the case

In January 2012, the Jefferson County Commission brought suit against West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant, Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, State Senate President Jeffrey Kessler, and Speaker Richard Thompson of the West Virginia House of Delegates, each in his or her official capacity. The county commission and two of its commissioners claimed that the State’s congressional apportionment statute enacted after the 2010 census violates Article I Section 2 of the US Constitution. The new statute created voting districts with significant disparities in population, violating the constitutional principle of “one person, one vote.”

Since the plaintiffs showed that the population disparities could have been reduced, the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia held that the apportionment is not constitutional and declared it null and void. The state officials appealed directly to the United States Supreme Court.


Does the population disparity in West Virginia’s apportionment of voting districts violate Article I Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution?