Gomillion v. Lightfoot
Background, Supreme Court Reverses Decision, Redistricting
C. G. Gomillion, et al.
Lightfoot, Mayor of Tuskegee, et al.
That the state of Alabama re-created the Tuskegee City boundaries to eliminate most African American residents, preventing them from voting in city elections in violation of the Fifteenth Amendment.
Chief Lawyers for Petitioners
Fred D. Gray, Robert L. Carter
Chief Lawyer for Respondents
James J. Carter
Justices for the Court
Hugo Lafayette Black, William J. Brennan, Jr., Tom C. Clark, William O. Douglas, Felix Frankfurter (writing for the Court), John Marshall Harlan II, Potter Stewart, Earl Warren, Charles Evans Whittaker
Date of Decision
14 November 1960
Ruling that African American residents had a right to prove in court that the redistricting act was unconstitutional, the Court reversed the two lower courts' dismissal of the complaint.
Prior to this ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court had been reluctant to interfere with the rights of states to establish political boundaries of their cities. This case, however, demonstrated that states cannot use that power to deprive citizens of their voting rights guaranteed by the Fifteenth Amendment.
This case marked a shift in the Supreme Court's involvement with political redistricting cases. In later cases, the Court ruled that redistricting be done according to population. Although gerrymandering--the process of re-drawing voting districts to an individual's or group's own advantage in elections--remained an issue after this case, it was determined to be unconstitutional when it clearly discriminated against a particular racial group.
- Hunter v. City of Pittsburgh, 207 U.S. 161 (1907).
- Colegrove v. Green, 328 U.S. 549 (1946).
- Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186 (1962).
- Beer v. United States, 425 U.S. 130 (1976).
- Shaw v. Reno, 509 U.S. 630 (1993).
"An Overview of House Reapportionment during the 1990s." http://www.lpitr.state.sc.us/reports/97reapp.htm.
Dictionary of American History, Volume 2. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1976.
- Blumberg, Rhoda L. Civil Rights: The 1960s Freedom Struggle. Boston: G. K. Hall & Co., 1984.
- Cushman, Robert F., and Susan P. Loniak. Cases in Constitutional Law, 7th ed. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1989.
- Lieberman, Jethro K. The Evolving Constitution: How the Supreme Court Has Ruled on Issues from Abortion to Zoning. New York: Random House, 1992.
- Hoyt v. Florida - Significance, Court Upholds Double Standard Regarding Jury Service, First Use Of The Temporary Insanity Plea
- et al. Glidden Company v. Zdanok - Significance, Management Rights Vs. Seniority, Ruling On The Judge, Article I And Article Iii
- Gomillion v. Lightfoot - Background
- Gomillion v. Lightfoot - Supreme Court Reverses Decision
- Gomillion v. Lightfoot - Redistricting
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