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Tennant v. Jefferson County Commission

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: September 25, 2012
Case #: 11-1184
Per Curiam.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/11-1184c1d3.pdf

Constitutional Law: A state redistricting plan that demonstrates valid, neutral policies necessary to achieve legitimate state objectives is consistent with constitutional norms even if it requires small differences in the population of congressional districts.

In August 2011 the West Virginia legislature convened an extraordinary session and created a Redistricting Committee to address the recent population shifts and to comply with Constitutional voting requirements. After reviewing nine proposed plans, the legislature adopted a redistricting plan that provided a .79% population variance. Respondents sued to enjoin the State from implementing the redistricting plan. Respondents claimed that the redistricting plan violated the Constitutions of West Virginia and of the United States. The District Court granted the injunction and the State appealed directly to the U.S. Supreme Court which reversed.

According to the Court, the redistricting plan does not violate the United States Constitutional requirements because West Virginia demonstrated that the population deviations in its plan were valid, neutral policies necessary to achieve the legitimate state objectives of avoiding redistricting incumbents into the same district and not splitting county lines.