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RYBICKI v. STATE BD. OF ELECTIONS OF ILLINOIS

January 20, 1983

CHESTER J. RYBICKI, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
THE STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS. MIGUEL DELVALLE, ET AL., V. THE STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS. BRUCE CROSBY, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS, V. THE STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



Before Cudahy, Circuit Judge, Grady, District Judge, and Bua, District Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Cudahy, Circuit Judge.

RYBICKI II

In our initial opinion of January 12, 1982 following the trial of these consolidated reapportionment cases, Rybicki v. State Board of Elections, 574 F. Supp. 1082 No. 81 C 6030 (N.D.Ill. Jan. 12, 1982) [hereinafter cited as "Rybicki I"], we ruled on the merits of challenges to Illinois' 1981 state legislative redistricting brought on behalf of black voters (the Crosby plaintiffs) and Republican and suburban voters (the Rybicki plaintiffs).*fn1 Our decision with respect to the Crosby claims at the time of Rybicki I was, we believe, correctly based on the Supreme Court's most recent analysis of voting dilution claims as set forth in City of Mobile v. Bolden, 446 U.S. 55, 100 S.Ct. 1490, 64 L.Ed.2d 47 (1980). After our January 12 opinion was issued, however, and while we were reviewing the Crosby plaintiffs' motion for reconsideration of the Crosby decision, Congress extended and amended the Voting Rights Act.*fn2 Consequently, in response to the Crosby plaintiffs' request, we have decided to reevaluate those of the Crosby plaintiffs' claims that we found wanting under the Bolden criteria to determine whether the evidence may be sufficient to show a possible violation of the amended Voting Rights Act. As a result of this reevaluation, we are tentatively of the view that in certain specific areas on Chicago's South Side the location of the district lines, in connection with highly concentrated black districts, and in light of all the relevant factors, may be suspect under the "results" test of the amended Act. Therefore, we request the Commission to redraw certain district lines in the specific areas we identify below so as to correct these apparent districting deficiencies.

I.

The legislative history of the amended Voting Rights Act clearly indicates that claims of vote dilution do come within the scope of the Act, S.Rep. No. 417, 97th Cong., 2d Sess. 30 n. 120 (1982). Further, in order to prove vote dilution, plaintiffs need not demonstrate that "the disputed plan was `conceived or operated as [a] purposeful devic[e] to further racial . . . discrimination.'" Bolden, 446 U.S. at 66, 100 S.Ct. at 1499. Instead, plaintiffs can prove a violation of the Act merely by showing "that the challenged system or practice, in the context of all the circumstances in the jurisdiction in question, results in minorities being denied equal access to the political process." S.Rep. No. 417, 97th Cong., 2d Sess. 27, U.S.Code Cong. & Admin.News 1982, p. 205 (emphasis supplied).*fn3 Under this "results" test, we must "assess the impact of the challenged structure or practice on the basis of objective factors, rather than mak[e] a determination about the motivations which lay behind its adoption or maintenance." Id. Congress has provided us with a nonexclusive list of objective factors to guide us in determining whether in a particular case the challenged practice or structure violates Section 2. See S.Rep. No. 417, 97th Cong., 2d Sess. 28-29 & nn. 114-18 (1982). These factors are applied to this case in the following Section.

II.

The focus of continuing concern in this case is on the South Side districts. The South Side majority black house districts contain high concentrations of blacks, much greater than 65% of the district population — the percentage generally presumed necessary for a minority population to elect a representative of their choice.*fn4 Further, the Crosby plaintiffs contended at trial that "[t]he boundary lines for Commission house districts 17, 18, 23, 24, 25, 31, 33 and 34 trace in great part the boundaries of the heavy black concentration in Chicago." Crosby Plaintiffs' Proposed Findings of Fact No. 97. They contend now that "the map adopted by the Court imposes the same racial wall as the Commission's original map, only now involving senate districts 12, 16 and 17 (as revised) and house districts 23, 24, 31, 33 (as revised) and 36 (as revised)." Memorandum in Support of Crosby Plaintiffs' Post-Trial Motion 4. The "result" in terms of concentration of black populations in voting districts is clear; in connection with this concentration the alleged correspondence between district lines and racial divisions (characterized for rhetorical purposes as a "wall") must be examined further. For we must decide whether these "results" (high concentrations and correspondence between election district and housing segregation demarcations), either singly or in combination, and in the context of Chicago political realities, violate the Voting Rights Act.

We think it deserves notice at the outset that the complaints we address here have their root in the extremely marked housing segregation on Chicago's South Side. A large area on the South Side is more than 85% black. See Pl.Ex. 12. Given this segregation and the territorial basis of representation under our system, it is inevitable, absent the most outlandish gerrymandering, that at least the voting districts in the interior of this area will be very heavily black. Obviously, we deplore the extreme degree of housing segregation in this area; but there is no evidence before us that the design of voting districts has any impact on housing. Our ability in a redistricting case to deal with the problem is thus limited at best.

Congress has suggested that we consider certain factors in deciding a challenge to the result of an election practice or structure. The factors are set forth in the following excerpt from a Senate committee report:

      1. the extent of any history of official
    discrimination in the state or political
    subdivision that touched the right of the
    members of the minority group to register, to
    vote, or otherwise to participate in the
    democratic process;
      2. the extent to which voting in the
    elections of the state or political subdivision
    is racially polarized;
      3. the extent to which the state or political
    subdivision has used unusually large election
    districts, majority vote requirements,
    anti-single shot provisions, or other voting
    practices or procedures that may enhance the
    opportunity for discrimination against the
    minority group;
      4. if there is a candidate slating process,
    whether the members of the minority group have
    been denied access to that process;
      5. the extent to which members of the
    minority group in the state or political
    subdivision bear the effects of discrimination
    in such areas as education, employment and
    health, which hinder their ability to
    participate effectively in the political
    process;
      6. whether political campaigns have been
    characterized by overt or subtle racial
    appeals;
      7. the extent to which members of the
    minority group have been elected to public
    office in the jurisdiction.
    Additional factors that in some cases have had
  probative value as part of plaintiffs' evidence
  to establish a violation are:
      whether there is a significant lack of
    responsiveness on the part of elected officials
    to the particularized needs of the members of
    the minority group.
      whether the policy underlying the state or
    political subdivision's use of such voting
    qualification, prerequisite to voting, or
    ...

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