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Mahan v. Howell

Significance, What Is The Percentage?, Home-port Or Home Address?, Flexibility And Local Control


Mahan, Secretary, Virginia State Board of Elections, and others


Henry E. Howell, Jr., Clive L. DuVal II, City of Norfolk, and others

Appellants' Claim

The district court had invalidated the Virginia General Assembly's plan for redistricting in state elections and had substituted an unfair plan of its own.

Chief Lawyer for Appellees

Andrew P. Miller, Attorney General of Virginia

Chief Lawyers for Appellants

Henry E. Howell, Jr., and Clive L. DuVal II, arguing for themselves

Justices for the Court

Harry A. Blackmun, Warren E. Burger, Lewis F. Powell, Jr., William H. Rehnquist (writing for the Court), Potter Stewart, Byron R. White

Justices Dissenting

William J. Brennan, Jr., William O. Douglas, Thurgood Marshall


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

21 February 1973


That the Virginia General Assembly's plan was constitutional and should be upheld, except for its handling of 36,700 people who were "home-ported" at the U.S. Naval Station at Norfolk; in that case, the Court approved the district court's revision of the state plan.

Related Cases

  • Colegrove v. Green, 328 U.S. 549 (1946).
  • Wesberry v. Sanders, 376 U.S. 1 (1964).
  • Karcher v. Daggett, 462 U.S. 725 (1983).
  • Miller v. Johnson, 515 U.S. 900 (1995).
  • Shaw v. Hunt, 517 U.S. 899 (1996).
  • Bush v. Vera, 517 U.S. 952 (1996).
  • Abrams v. Johnson, 521 U.S. 74 (1997).


Grolier Electronic Publishing, Inc., 1995.

Further Readings

  • Biskupic, Joan, and Elder Witt, eds. Congressional Quarterly's Guide to the U.S. Supreme Court, 3rd ed. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly, Inc., 1996.
  • Hall, Kermit L., ed. Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1973 to 1980