United States v. Board of Commissioners of Sheffield, Alabama

PETITIONER: United States
RESPONDENT: Board of Commissioners of Sheffield, Alabama
LOCATION: First Division Circuit Court, Pulaski County

DOCKET NO.: 76-1662
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT:

CITATION: 435 US 110 (1978)
ARGUED: Oct 11, 1977
DECIDED: Mar 06, 1978

ADVOCATES:
Days -
Drew S. Days, III - for the appellant
Vincent McAlister - for appellees

Facts of the case

Question

Media for United States v. Board of Commissioners of Sheffield, Alabama

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 11, 1977 in United States v. Board of Commissioners of Sheffield, Alabama

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - March 06, 1978 in United States v. Board of Commissioners of Sheffield, Alabama

Warren E. Burger:

The judgment and opinion in number 76-1662, United States against Board of Commissioners of Sheffield, Alabama will be announced by Mr. Justice Brennan.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

This case arises under the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The State of Alabama is covered under that Act as it's twice been extended in 1970 and 1975.

Alabama must, therefore, obtain prior federal approval before changing any voting practice or procedure that was in effect on November 1, 1964.

In this case, however, a Three-Judge District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, held that this requirement of federal approval was not applicable as respects a change by the City of Sheffield, Alabama where Mayor-Council form of government.

The District Court held that the Sheffield was not within the State's coverage under Section 5, even though Sheffield is a subdivision of Alabama, because Sheffield was not a subdivision which conducts registration for voting.

We disagree.

We hold that Section 5 of the Act covers all political units within designated jurisdictions like Alabama.

Mr. Justice Blackmun, joining the Court opinion, has also filed a concurring opinion.

Mr. Justice Powell has filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment.

Mr. Justice Stevens joined by the Chief Justice and Mr. Justice Rehnquist dissents and has filed a dissenting opinion.

Warren E. Burger:

Thank you, Mr. Justice Brennan.