MARYLAND COMMITTEE v. TAWES

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
29
Appellant 
Maryland Committee for Fair Representation et al.
Appellee 
J. Millard Tawes, Governor
Advocates
(for the appellants)
(Solicitor General, Department of Justice, as amicus curiae, by special leave of Court)
(for the appellees)
(for the State of New Jersey, as amicus curiae)
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Facts of the Case 

Under its 1867 Constitution, the State of Maryland's Senate has 29 seats, one for each of 23 counties and six for the City of Baltimore's legislative districts. The State's five most populous political subdivisions with over three-fourths of the 1960 population are represented by only slightly over one-third of the Senate's membership. In the House of Delegates, after temporary legislation in 1962, there existed a maximum population-variance ratio of almost 6-to-1. A group of residents, taxpayers, and voters brought suit, alleging that the legislative malapportionment violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Ultimately, the circuit court held that as to certain counties there was invidious discrimination in the apportionment of the House and that the senatorial apportionment was constitutional. The Maryland Court of Appeals affirmed.

Question 

Does Maryland's apportionment scheme violate the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause by mandating one senator per county and legislative district of Baltimore, regardless of population variances?

Conclusion 
Decision: 7 votes for Maryland Committee, 2 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Equal Protection

Yes. In an 8-1 opinion deliver by Chief Justice Earl Warren, the Court held that neither house of the Maryland Legislature is apportioned sufficiently on a population basis to be constitutionally sustainable, based on the Court's ruling in Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533 (1964). Finding that the validity of the apportionment of both houses of the Maryland legislature were before it, the Court found that neither house could be sustained under the Equal Protection Clause because of the gross disparities from population-based representation in the apportionment of Senate seats. "Maryland's plan is plainly insufficient under the requirements of the Equal Protection Clause as spelled out in our opinion in Reynolds," wrote Chief Justice Warren. Justice John M. Harlan dissented.

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MARYLAND COMMITTEE v. TAWES. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 13 December 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1960-1969/1963/1963_29>.
MARYLAND COMMITTEE v. TAWES, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1960-1969/1963/1963_29 (last visited December 13, 2014).
"MARYLAND COMMITTEE v. TAWES," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed December 13, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1960-1969/1963/1963_29.