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30 U. Mich. J.L. Reform 79 (1996-1997)
The Three-Judge District Court in Voting Rights Litigation

handle is hein.journals/umijlr30 and id is 87 raw text is: THE THREE-JUDGE DISTRICT COURT
IN VOTING RIGHTS LITIGATIONt
Michael E. Solimine*
In recent Terms the Supreme Court has heard numerous appeals
from the decisions of three-judge district courts in controversial
Voting Rights Act cases as well as in challenges to congressional
districts designed allegedly to facilitate the election of members of
minority groups. Although the cases themselves have been followed
closely, the institution of the three-judge district court itself has
received relatively little attention, even though Congress passed
legislation in 1976 that restricted the three-judge court's jurisdiction
to reapportionment and certain Voting Rights Act cases. In this
Article, Professor Solimine argues that numerous problems attend
the formation and operation of such courts. He reviews both structur-
al problems and administrative problems. He concludes that the
court should be abolished, permitting a single district judge to
consider the cases currently litigated before such courts with normal
appellate review thereafter. He considers alternative reforms and
critically examines proposals to expand the current jurisdiction of
three-judge district courts.
[Aipportionment is a very high percentage of politics
with a very small admixture of definable principle.
-Alexander Bickel'
Legislative districting is highly political business.
-Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg2
t     © 1996 Michael E. Solimine, all rights reserved.
*     Donald P. Klekamp Professor of Law, University of Cincinnati College of Law.
B.A. 1978, Wright State University; J.D. 1981, Northwestern University School of Law.
I would like to thank Chief Judge Gilbert Merritt and Judge Nathaniel Jones of the
United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, Judge Walter Rice of the United
States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, and Pamela Karlan for discussing
the three-judge district court with me; Mark Chumley and Bryan Pacheco for their
research assistance; and Barry Friedman, Sam Issacharoff, Steve Justice, Judy
McKenna, Richard Pildes, Richard Saphire, and Joseph Tomain for commenting on an
earlier draft of this Article. I am particularly grateful to James Walker, not only for his
comments on an earlier draft, but for supplying me with information from the United
States Supreme Court Data Base.
1.    Alexander Bickel, The Durability of Colegrove v. Green, 72 YALE L.J. 39, 42
(1962).
2.    Miller v. Johnson, 115 S. Ct. 2475, 2499 (1995) (Ginsburg, J., dissenting), prob.
juris. noted sub nom. Abrams v. Johnson, 116 S. Ct. 1823 (1996).

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