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Shapiro v. McManus MD gerrymandering 990

Shapiro v. McManus MD gerrymandering 990

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Date Created:December 4, 2015

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Tags:Vieth, Goosby, Petitioners, claim, gerrymandering, McManus, Opinion, shapiro, maryland, Judges, Circuit, Supreme Court, states, district, court, united, Judge


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Slip Opinion)
OCTOBER TERM, 2015
Syllabus
NOTE: Where feasible, syllabus (headnote) will released,
being done connection with this case, the time the opinion issued.
The syllabus constitutes part the opinion the Court but has been
prepared the Reporter Decisions for the convenience the reader.
See United States Detroit Timber Lumber Co., 200 321, 337.
SUPREME COURT THE UNITED STATES
Syllabus
SHAPIRO AL. McMANUS, CHAIRMAN,
MARYLAND STATE BOARD ELECTIONS, AL.
CERTIORARI THE UNITED STATES COURT APPEALS FOR
THE FOURTH CIRCUIT
No. 990.
Argued November 2015 Decided December 2015
Since 1976, federal law has mandated that district court three
judges shall convened when action filed challenging the
constitutionality the apportionment congressional districts 2284(a), and has provided that the judge [presented
with request for three-judge court] shall, unless determines
that three judges are not required, immediately notify the chief judge the circuit, who shall designate two other judges serve,
2284(b)(1).
Petitioners requested that three-judge court convened consider their claim that Maryland 2011 congressional redistricting
plan burdens their First Amendment right political association.
Concluding that relief could granted for this claim, the District
Judge dismissed the action instead notifying the Chief Judge the
Circuit convene three-judge court. The Fourth Circuit affirmed.
Held: Section 2284 entitles petitioners make their case before
three-judge court. Pp.
(a) Section 2284(a) prescription could not clearer. Because the
present suit indisputably action challenging the constitutionality the apportionment congressional districts, the District
Judge was required refer the case three-judge court. Section
2284(a) admits exception, and the mandatory shall normally creates obligation impervious judicial discretion. Lexecon Inc. Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes Lerach, 523 26, 35.
The subsequent provision 2284(b)(1), that the district judge shall
commence the process for appointment three-judge panel unless determines that three judges are not required, should read not grant discretion the district judge ignore 2284(a), but
SHAPIRO MCMANUS
Syllabus compatible administrative detail requiring district judges determin[e] only whether the request for three judges made
case covered 2284(a).
This conclusion bolstered
2284(b)(3) explicit command that [a] single judge shall not enter judgment the merits. Pp.
(b) Respondents alternative argument, that the District Judge
should have dismissed petitioners claim constitutionally insubstantial under Goosby Osser, 409 512, unpersuasive. This
Court has long distinguished between failing raise substantial
federal question for jurisdictional purposes what Goosby addressed and failing state claim for relief the merits what
the District Judge found here; only wholly insubstantial and frivolous claims implicate the former, Bell Hood, 327 678, 682
683. Absent such obvious frivolity, the failure state proper
cause action calls for judgment the merits and not for dismissal for want jurisdiction. Id., 682. Petitioners plea for relief, which was based legal theory put forward JUSTICE KENNEDY concurrence Vieth Jubelirer, 541 267, 315, and
uncontradicted subsequent majority opinions, easily clears
Goosby low bar. Pp.
584 Fed. Appx. 140, reversed and remanded.
SCALIA, J., delivered the opinion for unanimous Court.
Cite as: 577 ____ (2015)
Opinion the Court
NOTICE: This opinion subject formal revision before publication the
preliminary print the United States Reports. Readers are requested
notify the Reporter Decisions, Supreme Court the United States, Washington, 20543, any typographical other formal errors, order
that corrections may made before the preliminary print goes press.
SUPREME COURT THE UNITED STATES
_________________
No. 990
_________________
STEPHEN SHAPIRO, AL., PETITIONERS
DAVID MCMANUS, JR., CHAIRMAN, MARYLAND
STATE BOARD ELECTIONS, AL. WRIT CERTIORARI THE UNITED STATES COURT
APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT
[December 2015]
JUSTICE SCALIA delivered the opinion the Court. consider under what circumstances, any, district
judge free determin[e] that three judges are not
required for action challenging the constitutionality the apportionment congressional districts. 2284(a), (b)(1).
Rare today, three-judge district courts were more common the decades before 1976, when they were required
for various adjudications, including the grant interlocutory permanent injunction restraining the enforcement, operation execution any State statute upon
the ground the unconstitutionality such statute. 2281 (1970 ed.), repealed, Pub. 381,
Stat. 1119. See Currie, The Three-Judge District Court Constitutional Litigation, Chi. Rev.
(1964). Decisions three-judge courts could, then now, appealed right directly this Court.
1253.
SHAPIRO MCMANUS
Opinion the Court 1976, Congress substantially curtailed the circumstances under which three-judge court required.
was longer required for the grant injunction
against state statutes, see Pub. 381, Stat.
1119 (repealing 2281), but was mandated for action challenging the constitutionality the
apportionment congressional districts the apportionment any statewide legislative body. Id., now
codified 2284(a).
Simultaneously, Congress amended the procedures
governing three-judge district courts. The prior statute
had provided: The district judge whom the application
for injunction other relief presented shall constitute
one member [the three-judge] court. the filing the
application, shall immediately notify the chief judge
the circuit, who shall designate two other judges serve. 2284(1) (1970 ed.). The amended statute
provides: Upon the filing request for three judges, the
judge whom the request presented shall, unless
determines that three judges are not required, immediately
notify the chief judge the circuit, who shall designate
two other judges serve. 2284(b)(1) (2012
ed.) (emphasis added). The dispute here concerns the
scope the italicized text. response the 2010 Census, Maryland enacted
statute October 2011 establishing or, more pejoratively, gerrymandering the districts for the State eight
congressional seats. Dissatisfied with the crazy-quilt
results, see App. Pet. for Cert. 23a, petitioners, bipartisan group citizens, filed suit pro Federal District
Court. Their amended complaint alleges, inter alia, that
Maryland redistricting plan burdens their First Amendment right political association. Petitioners also requested that three-judge court convened hear the
Cite as: 577 ____ (2015)
Opinion the Court
case.
The District Judge, however, thought the claim not one
for which relief can granted. Benisek Mack, Supp. 516, 526 (Md. 2014). [N]othing about the
congressional districts issue this case affects any
proscribed way [petitioners ability participate the
political debate any the Maryland congressional
districts which they might find themselves. They are
free join preexisting political committees, form new
ones, use whatever other means are their disposal
influence the opinions their congressional representatives. Ibid. (brackets, ellipsis, and internal quotation
marks omitted).
For that reason, instead notifying the Chief Judge
the Circuit the need for three-judge court, the District
Judge dismissed the action. The Fourth Circuit summarily affirmed unpublished disposition. Benisek
Mack, 584 Fed. Appx. 140 (CA4 2014). Seeking review
this Court, petitioners pointed out that least two other
Circuits consider reversible error for district judge
dismiss case under 2284 for failure state claim for
relief rather than refer for transfer three-judge
court. See LaRouche Fowler, 152 974, 981 983
(CADC 1998); LULAC Texas, 113 53, (CA5
1997) (per curiam). granted certiorari. Shapiro
Mack, 576 ___ (2015).
Petitioners sole contention that the District Judge
had authority dismiss the case rather than initiate
the procedures convene three-judge court. Not so,
argue respondents; the 1976 addition 2284(b)(1) the
clause unless determines that three judges are not
required precisely such grant authority. Moreover,
say respondents, Congress declined specify standard constrain the exercise this authority. Choosing,
SHAPIRO MCMANUS
Opinion the Court
the District Judge did, the familiar standard for dismissal
under Federal Rule Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) best serves
the purposes three-judge court, which (in respondents
view) protect States from hasty, imprudent invalidation their statutes rogue district judges acting alone.
Brief for Respondents 27.
Whatever the purposes three-judge court may be,
respondents argument needlessly produces contradiction the statutory text. That text initial prescription
could not clearer: district court three judges shall convened when action filed challenging the
constitutionality the apportionment congressional
districts 2284(a) (emphasis added).
Nobody disputes that the present suit action
challenging the constitutionality the apportionment
congressional districts. follows that the district judge
was required refer the case three-judge court, for
2284(a) admits exception, and the mandatory
shall normally creates obligation impervious
judicial discretion. Lexecon Inc. Milberg Weiss Bershad
Hynes Lerach, 523 26, (1998); see also National
Assn. Home Builders Defenders Wildlife, 551
644, 661 662 (2007) (same).
The subsequent provision 2284(b)(1), that the district judge shall commence the process for appointment three-judge panel unless determines that three
judges are not required, need not and therefore should
not read grant discretion the district judge
ignore 2284(a). not even framed proviso,
exception from that provision, but rather administrative detail that entirely compatible with 2284(a).
The old 2284(1) triggered the district judge duty refer
the matter for the convening three-judge court [o]n
the filing the application enjoin unconstitutional
state law. contrast, the current 2284(b)(1) triggers
the district judge duty [u]pon the filing request for
Cite as: 577 ____ (2015)
Opinion the Court
three judges (emphasis added). But course party
may whether good faith bad, through ignorance
hope malice file request for three-judge court even the case does not merit one under 2284(a). Section
2284(b)(1) merely clarifies that district judge need not
unthinkingly initiate the procedures convene threejudge court without first examining the allegations the
complaint. short, all the district judge must determin[e] whether the request for three judges made case covered 2284(a) more, less.
That conclusion bolstered 2284(b)(3) explicit
command that [a] single judge shall not enter judgment the merits. would odd interpretation
that allowed district judge under 2284(b)(1) what forbidden under 2284(b)(3). More likely that
Congress intended three-judge court, and not single
district judge, enter all final judgments cases satisfying the criteria 2284(a).
III
Respondents argue the alternative that district
judge not required refer case for the convening
three-judge court the constitutional claim (as they
assert petitioners claim be) insubstantial. Goosby Osser, 409 512 (1973), stated that the filing
constitutionally insubstantial claim did not trigger the
three-judge-court requirement under the pre-1976 statutory regime. Id., 518. Goosby rested not interpretation statutory text, but the familiar proposition
that [i]n the absence diversity citizenship, essential jurisdiction that substantial federal question
should presented. parte Poresky, 290 30,
(1933) (per curiam) (emphasis added). Absent substantial federal question, even single-judge district court
lacks jurisdiction, and [a] three-judge court not required where the district court itself lacks jurisdiction
SHAPIRO MCMANUS
Opinion the Court
the complaint the complaint not justiciable the
federal courts. Gonzalez Automatic Employees Credit
Union, 419 90, 100 (1974). the present case, however, the District Judge dismissed petitioners complaint not because thought
lacked jurisdiction, but because concluded that the
allegations failed state claim for relief the merits,
citing Ashcroft Iqbal, 556 662 (2009), and Bell
Atlantic Corp. Twombly, 550 544 (2007). See Supp. 3d, 520. That was accord with Fourth Circuit precedent, which holds that where the pleadings
not state claim, then definition they are insubstantial
and properly are subject dismissal the district
court without convening three-judge court. Duckworth State Admin. Bd. Election Laws, 332 769, 772
773 (CA4 2003) (emphasis added). think this standard both too demanding and inconsistent with our precedents. [C]onstitutional claims will
not lightly found insubstantial for purposes the
three-judge-court statute. Washington Confederated
Tribes Colville Reservation, 447 134, 147 148
(1980). have long distinguished between failing
raise substantial federal question for jurisdictional
purposes which what Goosby addressed and failing
state claim for relief the merits; only wholly insubstantial and frivolous claims implicate the former. Bell
Hood, 327 678, 682 683 (1946); see also Hannis
Distilling Co. Mayor and City Council Baltimore, 216 285, 288 (1910) obviously frivolous plainly insubstantial Bailey Patterson, 369 31, (1962)
(per curiam) wholly insubstantial, legally speaking
non-existent, essentially fictitious Steel Co. Citizens
for Better Environment, 523 83, (1998) frivolous immaterial Absent such frivolity, the failure state proper cause action calls for judgment the merits
and not for dismissal for want jurisdiction. Bell,
Cite as: 577 ____ (2015)
Opinion the Court
supra, 682. Consistent with this principle, Goosby
clarified that [c]onstitutional insubstantiality for this
purpose has been equated with such concepts essentially fictitious, wholly insubstantial, obviously frivolous,
and obviously without merit. 409 S., 518 (citations
omitted). And the adverbs were mere throwaways;
[t]he limiting words wholly and obviously have cogent
legal significance. Ibid.
Without expressing any view the merits petitioners claim, believe easily clears Goosby low bar;
after all, the amended complaint specifically challenges
Maryland apportionment along the lines suggested
Justice Kennedy his concurrence Vieth [v. Jubelirer,
541 267 (2004)]. App. Brief Opposition 44.
Although the Vieth plurality thought all political gerrymandering claims nonjusticiable, JUSTICE KENNEDY,
concurring the judgment, surmised that State did
impose burdens and restrictions groups persons
reason their views, there would likely First
Amendment violation, unless the State shows some compelling interest. Where alleged that gerrymander had the purpose and effect imposing burdens
disfavored party and its voters, the First Amendment may
offer sounder and more prudential basis for intervention
than does the Equal Protection Clause. Vieth Jubelirer, 541 267, 315 (2004). Whatever wholly insubstantial, obviously frivolous, etc., mean, minimum they cannot include plea for relief based legal
theory put forward Justice this Court and uncontradicted the majority any our cases. Accordingly,
the District Judge should not have dismissed the claim
constitutionally insubstantial under Goosby. Perhaps
petitioners will ultimately fail the merits their suit,
but 2284 entitles them make their case before threejudge district court.
SHAPIRO MCMANUS
Opinion the Court
The judgment the Fourth Circuit reversed, and the
case remanded for further proceedings consistent with
this opinion. ordered.