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Davis v. Bandemer

Law Dictionary
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Constitutional Law Keyed to Stone

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Bloomberg Law

Citation. 478 U.S. 109, 106 S. Ct. 2797, 92 L. Ed. 2d 85, 1986 U.S. 122.

Brief Fact Summary. The Republican controlled Indiana legislature designed an apportionment scheme that resulted in the Democrats’ voting strength being understated in terms of the number of seats in the legislature Democrats won. The Democrats sued.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. In order to make out a case for unconstitutional apportionment, a plaintiff must show intentional discrimination on the part of the defendant against an identifiable political group and actual discriminatory effect on the same group.


Facts. The Republican controlled Indiana State legislature in 1981 adopted an apportionment plan (the “Plan”), which provided for State representative electoral districts of substantially equal population. Appellees, the Democrats (Appellees), nonetheless, claimed that the Republicans had adopted a scheme that would substantially understate Democratic voting strength. Under the Plan, in 1982, Appellees received 51.9 percent of the vote, but won only 43 percent of the 100 House seats and 13 of 25 Senate seats. At trial, the District Court held that the Appellees needed only to show that their proportionate voting influence had been adversely affected.

Issue. Did the Appellees make a sufficient showing to establish the Plan as an unconstitutional infringement of equal protection?
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