U.S. Supreme Court
Connor v. Johnson, 402 U.S. 690 (1971)
Connor v. Johnson
Decided June 3, 1971
402 U.S. 690
A three-judge District Court invalidated Mississippi apportionment statute as allowing impermissibly large variations among election districts. The court stated that single member districts "would be ideal," but, in light of a June 4; 1971, deadline for filing notices of candidacy, issued its apportionment plan providing for some multi-member districts, including Hinds County. Applicants, who had quickly submitted four plans calling for single-member districts in Hinds County, ask for a stay of that judgment and an extension of the filing deadline until the District Court provides single member districts for Hinds County, or until the Attorney General or the District Court for the District of Columbia approves the District Court's apportionment plan under § 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Held: A stay is granted until June 14, 1971.
(a) A decree of a district court is not within the reach of § 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
(b) Single-member districts are generally preferable to large multi-member districts in court-fashioned apportionment plans.
(c) In view of the availability of 1970 census data and the dispatch with which applicants devised their plans, the District Court is instructed, absent insurmountable difficulties, to devise and put into effect a single member district plan for Hinds County by June 14, 1971, and to extend appropriately the filing date for candidates from that county.