Tuesday, July 22, 2014

MALDEF challenges SoCal city's at-large elections

In a recently filed lawsuit, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) claimes Bellflower, CA's at-large election system effectively disenfranchises black and Latino residents.

Bellflower is roughly 30-non-traffic-minutes south of Los Angeles.


Election Law | Permalink


I was a "new guy" to the civil rights fold which litigated Kendrick v. Walder in Cairo, IL in the early '70s. Here is an excerpt:

United States Court of Appeals,
Seventh Circuit.
Hattie KENDRICK et al., Plaintiffs-Appellants,
James WALDER, Individually and as Mayor of the City of Cairo, Illinois et al., Defendants-Appellees.
No. 75-1291.

Argued Sept. 8, 1975.
Decided Dec. 16, 1975.

Class action was brought against officials responsible for conducting city council elections alleging that racial discrimination resulted from use of at-large elections under commission form of municipal government. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Illinois, Henry S. Wise, Chief Judge, granted defendants' motion to dismiss complaint and plaintiffs appealed. The Court of Appeals, Swygert, Circuit Judge, held that allegations that, as implemented in city in question, Illinois statutory provisions permitting communities to adopt city commission form of government and conduct at-large elections instead of retaining aldermanic system in which elections were conducted from single-member wards minimized, diluted and cancelled out plaintiffs' voting strength as group, and further that as result of such dilution election of blacks to city council was precluded, that nomination and election of white residents unresponsive to plaintiffs' needs and interest were guaranteed, that blacks were excluded from appointed positions in local government, and that racial discrimination in community was enhanced, stated cause of action under equal protection clause of Fourteenth Amendment.

The citation is: 927 F. 2d 44 (7th Cir. 1975).

This case is not to be confused with Hollis v. City of Cairo Municipal Utilities Authority, wherein counsel for the City told the 7th Circuit that they could not hire Blacks because "Nigras are fraid of lectricity."

Posted by: Liberty1st | Jul 22, 2014 1:07:24 PM

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