Missouri Redistricting Cases:  the 1990s

Nash v. Blunt140 F.R.D. 400 (W.D. Mo. 1992)

Democratic voters and Democratic members of state's house reapportionment commission moved to intervene in a case challenging the Missouri state house plan under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.  The Republican Governor and Secretary of State asserted that they were adequately representing the interests of all state citizens and resisted the motion to intervene.  The motion to intervene was granted and a motion to reconsider the order granting intervention was denied.

Nash v. BluntNo. 91-0840-CV-W-2 (W.D. Mo. Jan. 24, 1992)

The three-judge federal panel rejected the initial request of the plaintiffs to set aside the House Redistricting Commission's plan for redistricting the House of Representatives and replace it with a plan that the plaintiffs and defendants had agreed to.  The court said it could not set aside a duly adopted plan, unless it was found to violate the law.

Nash v. Blunt, 797 F. Supp. 1488 (W.D. Mo. 1992), aff'd sub nom. African-American Voting Rights Legal Defense Fund, Inc. v. Blunt, 507 U.S. 1015 (1993) (mem.)

In an amended petition, the plaintiffs challenged the plan as a violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, with the violations occurring in Jackson County, St. Louis County, and St. Louis City.  The Court found that the plan did not violate Section 2 because the plaintiffs did not show that the third precondition set forth in the Gingles' decision (the majority votes as a bloc to usually defeat the minority's preferred candidate) was met in any of the three areas.  The Court did note, however, that the minority's preferred candidate is elected at times not because racial bloc voting is absent, but because majority votes are sometimes divided among multiple majority candidates in the primary and a minority candidate wins with a plurality of the vote.  The majority has been willing to vote for the winning minority candidate in the general election.

State Contact

B. Darrell Jackson
Director of Research
House of Representatives
State Capitol, Room B-38
Jefferson City, MO 65101-6806
573/751-2979 voice
573/751-1963 fax