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Case Name Johnson v. DeGrandy VR-FL-0057
Docket / Court 4:92-cv-40015 ( N.D. Fla. )
State/Territory Florida
Case Type(s) Election/Voting Rights
Case Summary
On January 14, 1992, a member of the Florida House of Representatives and other registered voters representing African-American and Hispanic voters, filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida. The plaintiffs sued the Speaker of the Florida House of ... read more >
On January 14, 1992, a member of the Florida House of Representatives and other registered voters representing African-American and Hispanic voters, filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida. The plaintiffs sued the Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, the President of the Florida Senate, the Governor of Florida, and other state officials for violating Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. The plaintiffs claimed that minority groups were not represented equally in both congressional and state districts. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the court to assert jurisdiction to redistrict and reapportion the state.

On March 13, 1992, the Florida legislature ended its regular session without adopting a new districting plan. With a scheduled candidate qualification date of July 6, 1992, the court issued an expedited scheduling order to adopt congressional and state legislative district plans. However, the court made it clear that the Florida legislature was free to adopt its own in the interim. Subsequently, during a special session, the legislature adopted SJR 2-G, a state districting plan, but no congressional plan.

On April 30, 1992, a three-judge district court held the state’s current districting unconstitutional. The court identified the need for a constitutional Congressional districting plan and the need for a constitutional state districting plan

The court stayed consideration of the state plan that the Florida legislature passed. However, the state never passed a congressional plan and the decision for a plan to be adopted was left to the Court.

On May 29, 1992, Judge William Stafford, for a panel of three judges, approved Expert Plan 308. The court found the current congressional districting unconstitutional and held that Expert Plan 308 provided a constitutionally approvable plan for the congressional elections. The court ordered the defendants to conduct congressional elections in 1992 in accordance with Expert Plan 308.

Following this, the court also began hearings for SJR 2-G, the state districting plans, on May 27, 1992.

There were two parts of interest:
1.) House Plan: the House districting plan created only 9 Hispanic districts in South Florida, but it was argued that 11 could be created.
2.) Senate Plan: the Senate districting plan created 3 Hispanic districts in South Florida, but it was argued that at least a 4th could be created.

On July 17, 1992, Judge Stafford held that the Senate plan under SJR 2-G violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, but that it was the best remedy available. In particular, the creation of a 4th Hispanic district would be at the expense of black voters in the area. However, the court held that the House plan violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. The court found that the House plan could have created two more majority Hispanic districts bringing the total in South Florida to 11.

The Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, brought suit against the original plaintiffs challenging the unconstitutionality of the House plan. On June 30, 1994, Johnson v. De Grandy, the Supreme Court decided that the House plan did not violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. They held that section 2 did not require maximizing the number of districts where minority voters can elect their candidate. Instead, the true test is whether minorities have majorities in a number of districts proportional to their share of their the voting population. The Supreme Court decided 9 was representative and ordered adoption of the districting plans in accordance with SJR 2-G.

This case is now closed.

Brent Winslow - 10/28/2016

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Race discrimination
National Origin/Ethnicity
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Redistricting/district composition
Causes of Action Voting Rights Act, section 2, 42 U.S.C. § 1973
Defendant(s) Florida Legislature
Plaintiff Description A member of the State House of Representatives, Hispanic voters, and the NAACP representing African American voters.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer Unknown
Nature of Relief Declaratory Judgment
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Filing Year 1992
Case Closing Year 1994
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  The Oyez Project, Johnson, Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives v. De Grandy, 512 U.S. 997 (1994).
Date: Jun. 30, 1994
By: Oyez Project (IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

4:92-cv-40015-WS (N.D. Fla.)
VR-FL-0057-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/10/2001
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Opinion (794 F.Supp. 1076) (N.D. Fla.)
VR-FL-0057-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 05/29/1992
Source: Google Scholar
Opinion (815 F.Supp. 1550) (N.D. Fla.)
VR-FL-0057-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 07/17/1992
Source: Google Scholar
[Noting Probable Jurisdiction] (507 U.S. 907)
VR-FL-0057-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 02/22/1993
Source: Westlaw
[Re. Oral Argument] (508 U.S. 948)
VR-FL-0057-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 06/01/1993
Source: Westlaw
[Re. amicus participation] (509 U.S. 919)
VR-FL-0057-0006.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 06/28/1993
Source: Westlaw
Opinion (512 U.S. 997)
VR-FL-0057-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 06/30/1994
Source: Westlaw
Judges Hatchett, Joseph Woodrow (Fifth Circuit, Eleventh Circuit)
VR-FL-0057-0001 | VR-FL-0057-0002
Kennedy, Anthony McLeod (Ninth Circuit, SCOTUS)
O'Connor, Sandra Day (SCOTUS)
Scalia, Antonin (D.C. Circuit, SCOTUS)
Souter, David Hackett (First Circuit, SCOTUS)
Thomas, Clarence (D.C. Circuit, SCOTUS)
Plaintiff's Lawyers Feldman, James A. (District of Columbia)
Klein, Joel I. (District of Columbia)
Meros, George N Jr. (Florida)
VR-FL-0057-0002 | VR-FL-0057-9000
Odom, Francis Perry (Florida)
Rumberger, Edwin T (Florida)
VR-FL-0057-0002 | VR-FL-0057-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Doran, Richard Edward (Florida)
Foster, C. Allen (North Carolina)
Peters, James Aaron (Florida)
VR-FL-0057-0002 | VR-FL-0057-9000
Turanchik, Edwin John (Florida)
Waas, George Lee (Florida)
VR-FL-0057-0002 | VR-FL-0057-9000
Zack, Stephen N (Florida)

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