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BARNETT v. DALEY

December 21, 1992

RICHARD BARNETT, TIMUEL BLACK, ROSEMARY OLIVER, EDDIE READ, GEORGIA TREVAN, CONRAD WORRILL, CHAUNCERY STROUD, LEONARD OWENS and EUGENE FORD, Plaintiffs,
v.
RICHARD M. DALEY, AS MAYOR OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO, ILL., AND AS CHAIRMAN OF THE CHICAGO, ILLINOIS CITY COUNCIL; AND THEODORE MAZOLA, BOBBY L. RUSH, DOROTHY TILLMAN, TONI PRECKWINKLE, LAWRENCE BLOOM, JOHN O. STEELE, WILLIAM BEAVERS, LORRAINE DIXON, ROBERT SHAW, JOHN BUCHANAN, PATRICK M. HUELS, MARK J. FARY, JOHN S. MADRZYK, EDWARD BURKE, VIRGIL E. JONES, SHIRLEY COLEMAN, ALLAN STREETER, THOMAS MURPHY, GINGER RUGAI, ARENDA TROUTMAN, JESSE EVANS, JESUS GARCIA, JAMES LASKI, JESSE MILLER JR., AMBROSIO MEDRANO, LOIS GUTIERREZ, RICKEY HENDON, ED H. SMITH, SAM BURREL, CAROLE BIALCZAK, RAY SUAREZ, TERRY M. GABINSKI, RICHARD F. MELL, LEMUEL AUSTIN JR., MICHAEL A. WOJCIK, WILLIAM J.P. BANKS, PERCY Z. GILES, THOMAS W. CULLERTON, ANTHONY C. LAURINO, PATRICK J. O'CONNER, BRIAN DOHERTY, BURTON F. NATARUS, EDWIN EISENDRATH, BERNARD J. HANSEN, PATRICK J. LEVAR, HELEN SHILLER, EUGENE C. SCHULTER, MARY ANN SMITH, JOSEPH A. MOORE, BERNARD L. STONE, AS ALDERPERSONS AND AS MEMBERS OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO, ILLINOIS; AND MICHAEL J. HAMBLET, ARNETTE HUBBARD, AND CHRIS ROBLING, AS MEMBERS OF THE CHICAGO ILLINOIS BOARD OF ELECTION, Defendants. ED H. SMITH, ALLAN STREETER, HELEN SHILLER, JOHN O. STEELE, DOROTHY TILLMAN, LAWRENCE S. BLOOM, ROBERT SHAW, JESSE J. EVANS, BOBBY L. RUSH, PERCY GILES, WILLIAM M. BEAVERS, TONI PRECKWINKLE, RICKEY HENDON, JOE MOORE, ARENDA TROUTMAN, SHIRLEY A. COLEMAN, VIRGIL E. JONES, JESSE MILLER, SAM BURRELL, AND POLITICAL ACTION CONFERENCE OF ILLINOIS, INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF ALL OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED, Plaintiffs, v. RICHARD M. DALEY, CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO, AND BOARD OF ELECTION COMMISSIONERS OF CHICAGO, Defendants, and CAROLE BIALCZAK, THOMAS MURPHY, LUIS GUTIERREZ, PATRICK M. HUELS, JAMES LASKI, ANTHONY C. LAURINO, GINGER RUGAI, PATRICK J. LEVAR, JOHN S. MADRZYK, THEODORE MAZOLA, LEMUEL AUSTIN, JR., EDWIN EISENDRATH, EDWARD BURKE, WILLIAM J.P. BANKS, BERNARD L. STONE, EUGENE C. SCHULTER, JOHN BUCHANAN, MARY ANN SMITH, BRIAN DOHERTY, AMBROSIO MEDRANO, LORRAINE L. DIXON, THERIS M. GABINSKI, RAY SUAREZ, BURTON F. NATARUS, BERNARD J. HANSEN, RICHARD F. MELL, THOMAS W. CULLERTON, MARK FARY, PATRICK J. O'CONNOR, and MICHAEL J. WOJCIK, Defendant Intervenors.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: BRIAN BARNETT DUFF

 In these consolidated cases, two separate groups of plaintiffs challenge the redistricting of Chicago's wards. In Barnett, a group of African-American, registered voters in the City of Chicago (the "Barnett Plaintiffs") allege that both the redistricting process and the resultant map are unconstitutional and violate the Voting Rights Act. In Smith, a group of African-American and Caucasian Chicago Aldermen, as well as the Political Action Conference of Illinois, a not-for-profit political action organization composed of African-American citizens and representatives residing in the City of Chicago (the "Smith Plaintiffs"), allege that the redistricted ward map violates the voting Rights Act. *fn1" Both the Smith and Barnett Defendants have filed motions to dismiss which are currently pending before the court. *fn2" For the reasons discussed below, the court grants both motions to dismiss.

 BACKGROUND

 Illinois law required the Chicago City Council to redistrict Chicago's 50 wards by December 1, 1991, based upon the 1990 Census. Ill.Rev.Stat. ch. 24, § 21-38. Since the City Council failed to do so, Illinois law provided that any ten Chicago aldermen could propose a redistricting ordinance and demand that it be put to a popular referendum. Ill.Rev.Stat. ch. 24, § 21-40.

 Two different redistricting ordinances were ultimately proposed and placed on the ballot. One of the ordinances was sponsored by the Smith Plaintiffs, while the other was offered by 28 aldermen supporting Mayor Richard Daley on this issue. On March 17, 1992, the map proposed by the latter group (hereinafter, the "March 1992 Map") was selected by the voters, and thereupon came into "force and effect." Ill.Rev.Stat. ch. 24, § 21-42. Under the March 1992 Map, the racial composition of Chicago's 50 wards (according to total population) is as follows: n3 # of wards # of wards # of wards % of pop. in which whites in which blacks in which Hispanics in a given constitute the constitute the constitute the ward given % given % given % >35% 24 20 10 >40% 24 20 8 >45% 22 20 7 >50% 18 20 7 >55% 18 20 7 >60% 13 19 7 >65% 12 19 7 >70% 12 19 3

 Although the parties disagree on the precise number of wards controlled by each ethnic group, neither side contends that the city's wards are, or should be, perfectly distributed according to racial group population. *fn4" Indeed, as the Plaintiffs point out in their Joint Response, proportional representation would be virtually impossible in Chicago due to the size and dispersion of Chicago's many ethnic groups.

 The Smith Plaintiffs nevertheless allege that the March 1992 Map maximizes the political power of Caucasians by "fracturing" African-American communities (i.e., splitting them into more than one district with the result that African-Americans constitute an ineffective political grouping in each) and drawing majority Caucasian wards that "borrow" population from other groups. Because of the alleged "fracturing", the Smith Plaintiffs assert that the March 1992 Map violates the Voting Rights Act.

 The Barnett Plaintiffs, meanwhile, allege that the March 1992 Map "packs" African-Americans into super-majority wards (i.e., excessively concentrates them) without similarly packing Caucasians. Accordingly, the Barnett Plaintiffs allege that the March 1992 Map violates the Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act, the 14th Amendment, and the 15th Amendment. The Barnett Plaintiffs also allege that the ballot used in the March 17, 1992 redistricting referendum was so ambiguous, illogical and uninformative as to be violative of the same constitutional and statutory provisions.

 DISCUSSION

 The standard governing this court's decision on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion is well established. Only if the allegations in the complaint, and all reasonable inferences drawn therefrom, could not support any cause of action may this court grant the motion. See generally Charles Wright & Arthur Miller, 5A Federal Practice and Procedure: Civil 2d § 1357 (West Publishing, 2d ed. 1990). The court, however, need not strain to find inferences favorable to the Plaintiffs which are not apparent on the face of the complaint. Coates v. Illinois State Board of Education, 559 F.2d 445, 447 (7th Cir. 1977). The court must nevertheless interpret ambiguities in the complaint in favor of the Plaintiffs, and the Plaintiffs are free, in defending against the motions, "to allege without evidentiary support any facts [they] please[] that are consistent with the complaint, in order to show that there is a state of facts within the scope of the complaint that if proved . . . would entitle [them] to judgment." Early v. Bankers Life and Casualty Co., 959 F.2d 75, 79 (7th Cir. 1992).

 A. The Smith and Barnett Claims that the March 1992 Map Violates the Voting Rights Act.

 Section 2(a) of the Voting Rights Act makes it illegal to deny or abridge, on account of race, any person's right to vote. 42 U.S.C. § 1973(a). Section 2(b), as amended in 1982, adds that a violation of § 2(a) occurs

 if, based on the totality of circumstances, it is shown that the political processes leading to nomination or election . . . are not equally open to participation by members of a class of citizens protected by subsection (a) of this section in that its members have less opportunity than other members of the electorate to participate in the political process and to elect representatives of their choice. The extent to which members of a protected class have been elected to office in the State or political subdivision is one circumstance which may be considered: Provided, That nothing in this section establishes a right to have members of a protected class elected in numbers equal to their proportion in the population.

 42 U.S.C. § 1973(b) (emphasis in original). Congress amended § 2 in 1982 so as to define Voting Rights Act violations in terms of discriminatory outcome, not intent. Thornburg v. Gingles, 478 U.S. 30, 35, 92 L. Ed. 2d 25 , 106 S. Ct. 2752 (1986). As a result, § 2 violations can be proven "by showing discriminatory effect alone", rather than having to show a discriminatory purpose. Id. at 35.

 At the same time, however, § 2(b) says that "nothing in this section establishes a right to have members of a protected class elected in numbers equal to their proportion in the population." 42 U.S.C. § 1973(b). This proviso unequivocally disclaims a right to proportional representation. Gingles, 478 U.S. at 84 (O'Connor, J., concurring in judgment); Baird v. Cons. City of Indianapolis, 976 F.2d 357, 359 (7th Cir. 1992).


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