GAFFNEY V. CUMMINGS, 412 U. S. 735 (1973)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Gaffney v. Cummings, 412 U.S. 735 (1973)

Gaffney v. Cummings

No. 71-1476

Argued February 26-27, 1973

Decided June 18, 1973

412 U.S. 735


Connecticut's legislative apportionment plan was held by the District Court to be unconstitutional because partisan political structuring had resulted in excessive population deviations in the House districting.


1. Minor deviations from mathematical equality among state legislative districts do not make out a prima facie case of invidious discrimination under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and in this case, where the House districts deviated on the average by 1.9% and the maximum deviation was 7.83%, a prima facie case was not made out. Pp. 412 U. S. 740-751.

2. A "political fairness principle" that achieves a rough approximation of the state-wide political strengths of the two major parties does not violate the Equal Protection Clause. Pp. 412 U. S. 751-754.

341 F.Supp. 139, reversed.

WHITE, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BURGER, C.J.,and STEWART, BLACKMUN, POWELL, and REHNQUIST, JJ., joined. BRENNAN, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which DOUGLAS and MARSHALL, JJ., joined, post, p. 412 U. S. 772.

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