In 1972, a registered voter in Louisiana filed a federal lawsuit challenging Louisiana's apportionment of judicial districts used for the election of Louisiana's seven Supreme Court Justices. The plaintiff alleged that the judicial districts, which were established by the Louisiana Constitution and varied considerably in total populations, violated the constitutional principle of One Person, One Vote and, thereby, the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.
In 1972, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana ruled for the defendants, finding that the one person, one vote principle did not apply to judicial elections and apportionment. The district court explained that the underlying rationale behind that principle is primarily to ensure that all elected representatives speak for approximately the same number of constituents. Given this, the one person, one vote principle is not relevant and should not be applied to the election of Judges, who neither represent constituents nor exercise legislative or executive functions in the same capacity as other elected officials do. In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the district court's ruling that one person, one vote does not apply to judicial apportionments and districting.
Significance: The One Person, One Vote constitutional principle does not apply to judicial districts and apportionments.
U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana - 347 F.Supp. 453 (M.D. La. 1972)
- Opinion - 8/16/72
U.S. Supreme Court - 409 U.S. 1095 (1973)
- Opinion - 1/8/73