Connor v. Coleman, 440 U.S. 612 (1979)

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Connor v. Coleman, 440 U.S. 612 (1979)

Per curiam opinion.

PER CURIAM.

Petitioners are plaintiffs in a suit seeking reapportionment of the Mississippi Legislature. In the most recent of the Court’s decisions in this extended litigation, Connor v. Finch, 431 U.S. 407, 426 (1977), it reversed the Judgment of the District Court and directed that court to draw a new reapportionment plan for the 1979 elections "with a compelling awareness of the need for its expeditious accomplishment."

On remand, and after further proceedings, the parties developed a settlement plan. Negotiations broke down, however, over the wording of a consent decree. In the meantime, the State had adopted a new statutory reapportionment plan fashioned by the legislature. Because the Attorney General of the United States, acting pursuant to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, 42 U.S.C. § 1973c, refused to approve the legislature’s plan, the State brought suit under the Act in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, seeking a declaration that the plan does not have a discriminatory purpose or effect.

Acting on the state defendants’ motion, the District Court in this case determined to stay all proceedings until Judgment was entered in the District of Columbia litigation. If upheld, the statutory plan would supersede any court-ordered one. See Wise v. Lipscomb, 437 U.S. 535, 539-542 (1978). Petitioners then submitted this motion for leave to file a petition for a writ of mandamus to require the District Court to adopt a plan. Petitioners contend that some reapportionment scheme must be in effect by June 7, the filing deadline for the 1979 elections. Petitioners argue that the legislature’s plan may not be in effect by that date, and that, unless the court files its plan now, time limitations effectively will preclude them from obtaining review of that order in this Court. It is argued in response that immediate filing would be unduly disruptive if the filed plan were supplanted before June 7. The District Court has indicated, however, that, absent the conclusion of the District of Columbia suit, it will order a plan into effect on May 7.

The only issue here, therefore, is whether this Court should require the District Court to file its plan now, rather than on May 7; we do not question the good faith of the District Court. We believe, however, that the better course is to file its plan now. In the unlikely event that a legislative plan should supersede the court plan before May 7, potential candidates would have more than a month to reassess their prospects. If, on the other hand, the legislative plan does not go into effect and the court plan is filed only on May 7, this Court will be faced with requests for emergency review that, if granted, could force changes only days before the June 7 deadline.

Leave to file the petition is therefore granted. The District Court is instructed, forthwith and without further delay, to adopt a final plan for the reapportionment of the Mississippi Legislature. Our consideration of the petition for a writ of mandamus is continued for 30 days. See Connor v. Coleman, 425 U.S. 675, 679 (1976).

It is so ordered.

MR. JUSTICE POWELL took no part in the decision of this motion.

Per curiam opinion. (Footnotes)

* [REPORTER’s NOTE: The petition for a writ of mandamus was denied on May 21, 1979. 441 U.S. 792.]

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Chicago: U.S. Supreme Court, "Connor v. Coleman, 440 U.S. 612 (1979)," Connor v. Coleman, 440 U.S. 612 (1979) in 440 U.S. 612 440 U.S. 613–440 U.S. 614. Original Sources, accessed October 3, 2022, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=KZU45ZNHUZ1FVFU.

MLA: U.S. Supreme Court. "Connor v. Coleman, 440 U.S. 612 (1979)." Connor v. Coleman, 440 U.S. 612 (1979), in 440 U.S. 612, pp. 440 U.S. 613–440 U.S. 614. Original Sources. 3 Oct. 2022. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=KZU45ZNHUZ1FVFU.

Harvard: U.S. Supreme Court, 'Connor v. Coleman, 440 U.S. 612 (1979)' in Connor v. Coleman, 440 U.S. 612 (1979). cited in 1979, 440 U.S. 612, pp.440 U.S. 613–440 U.S. 614. Original Sources, retrieved 3 October 2022, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=KZU45ZNHUZ1FVFU.