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Supreme Court of the United States
November 18-19, 1963, Argued ; February 17, 1964, Decided
[*2] [***483] [**527] MR. JUSTICE BLACK delivered the opinion of the Court.
Appellants are citizens and qualified voters of Fulton County, Georgia, and as such are entitled to vote in congressional elections in Georgia's Fifth Congressional District. That district, one of ten created by a 1931 Georgia statute, 1 includes Fulton, DeKalb, and Rockdale Counties and has a population according to the 1960 census of 823,680. The average population of the ten districts is 394,312, less than half that of the Fifth. One district, the Ninth, has only 272,154 people, less than one-third as many as the Fifth. Since there is only one Congressman for each district, this inequality of population means that the Fifth District's Congressman has to represent from two to three times as many [***484] people as do Congressmen from some of the other Georgia districts.
[*3] Claiming that these population disparities deprived them and voters similarly situated of [****4] a right under the Federal Constitution to have their votes for Congressmen given the same weight as the votes of other Georgians, the appellants brought this action under 42 U. S. C. §§ 1983 and 1988 and 28 U. S. C. § 1343 (3) asking that the Georgia statute be declared invalid and that the appellees, the Governor and Secretary of State of Georgia, be enjoined from conducting elections under it. The complaint alleged that appellants were deprived of the full benefit of their right to vote, in violation of (1) Art. I, § 2, of the Constitution of the United States, which provides that "The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States . . ."; (2) the Due Process, Equal Protection, and Privileges and Immunities Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment; and (3) that part of Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment which provides that "Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers . . . ."
The case was heard by a three-judge District Court, which found unanimously, from facts not disputed, that:
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376 U.S. 1 *; 84 S. Ct. 526 **; 11 L. Ed. 2d 481 ***; 1964 U.S. LEXIS 1773 ****
WESBERRY ET AL. v. SANDERS, GOVERNOR OF GEORGIA, ET AL.
Prior History: [****1] APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF GEORGIA.
Disposition: 206 F.Supp. 276, reversed and remanded.
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