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U.S. Supreme Court

Minnesota State Senate v. Beens, 406 U.S. 187 (1972)

Sixty-Seventh Minnesota State Senate v. Beens

No. 71-1024

Decided April 29, 1972*

406 U.S. 187


A three-judge District Court found that the Minnesota Legislature was malapportioned, and reduced the number of legislative districts from 67, the number established in 1913, to 35, thereby reducing the number of senators by almost 50%, and the number of representatives by nearly 25%. The court declared the entire 1966 apportionment act unconstitutional, and enjoined state officials from conducting elections thereunder, later modifying that injunction so as to enjoin any future elections under any plan other than the one adopted by the court "or a constitutional plan adopted after this date by the State of Minnesota." Appellant, the Minnesota State Senate, intervened in the apportionment challenge below.


1. The appellant had the right to intervene, as the District Court's orders directly affected the senate, which is an appropriate legal entity for the purpose of intervention. Silver v. Jordan, 241 F.Supp. 576, aff'd, 381 U. S. 415.

2. The District Court's injunction with respect to the statutory sections fixing the number of legislative districts and the number of senators and representatives is sufficient to justify a direct appeal under 28 U.S.C. § 1253.

3. A federal reapportionment court should accommodate the relief ordered to the appropriate provisions of state statutes relating to the legislature's size as far as possible, and the action of the District Court here in so drastically changing the number of districts and the size of the houses of the state legislature is not required by the Federal Constitution, and is not justified as an exercise of federal power.

336 F.Supp. 715, vacated and remanded.

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