VOTING RIGHTS AND REDISTRICTING/

CENSUS 2000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

C. ROBERT HEATH

Bickerstaff, Heath, Smiley, Pollan, Kever & McDaniel, L.L.P.

1700 Frost Bank Plaza

816 Congress Avenue

Austin, Texas 78701-2443

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SUING AND DEFENDING GOVERNMENTAL ENTITIES 2001

July 26-27, 2001

San Antonio, Texas

CHAPTER 28

 

 

©2001 Bickerstaff, Heath, Smiley, Pollan, Kever & McDaniel, L.L.P.

 

C. ROBERT HEATH

Bickerstaff, Heath, Smiley, Pollan, Kever & McDaniel, L.L.P.

1700 Frost Bank Plaza

816 Congress Avenue

Austin, Texas 78701-2443

Education:

University of Texas (B.A. 1969)

University of Texas (J.D. 1972)

Certification:

Board Certified-Administrative Law

Texas Board of Legal Specialization

Professional Experience:

A. Positions:

Partner, Bickerstaff, Heath, Smiley, Pollan, Kever & McDaniel, L.L.P.,

1980-present

Chairman, Attorney General's Opinion Committee, 1974-1980

Assistant Attorney General of Texas, 1973-1980

Law Clerk to Honorable Jack Roberts, U.S. District Judge for the Western District of Texas

B. Redistricting Experience:

Mr. Heath has worked with redistricting issues since the time he served as a legislative staff member in the early 1970's. As a lawyer, he has advised scores of governmental entities during the redistricting process. He has also been the lead counsel defending governmental entities in redistricting litigation in many suits. Very recent suits include Chen v. City of Houston, where the district court granted and the Fifth Circuit upheld summary judgment for the city in a Shaw v. Reno challenge to the city's council redistricting plan; Foreman v. Dallas County, where the three-judge district court and the United States Supreme Court declined to enjoin Dallas County elections and where subsequently the Fifth Circuit overturned an award of attorneys’ fees to the plaintiffs for their work in "catalyzing" the legislature to change the statute at issue in the case; Valdespino v. Alamo Heights Ind. Sch. Dist., where the Fifth Circuit upheld the school district’s at-large election system; and Campos v. City of Houston, which established the law of the Fifth Circuit in regard to using the citizen population as the proper measure for analysis in voting rights claims. He has published extensively on the Voting Rights Act and has been quoted by the United States Supreme Court on the subject. Mr. Heath frequently speaks on the Voting Rights Act throughout the United States.

C. Open Meetings Experience:

As chairman of the Attorney General's Opinion Committee, Mr. Heath participated in the development of much of the open meetings and open records law in Texas, and in private practice he has represented both governmental and media clients in open meetings and open records matters. He has frequently presented papers at continuing legal education seminars and serves on the Administrative Law Advisory Committee to the Board of Legal Specialization.

D. Other Experience:

Mr. Heath has been involved in numerous complex administrative proceedings and in litigation in various areas, including land use regulation, annexation, inverse condemnation, and constitutional law.

Table of Contents

 

I. GENERAL BACKGROUND OF LEGAL ISSUES IN REDISTRICTING 1

II. THE CENSUS 1

A. Available Census Data 1

B. The Addition of Multi-Racial Categories in Census 2000 1

III. THE "ONE PERSON-ONE VOTE" REQUIREMENT: WHY YOU REDISTRICT 3

IV. SECTION 2 OF THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT - NO DISCRIMINATION AGAINST MINORITY GROUPS 3

V. SECTION 5 OF THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT - PRECLEARANCE 4

A. Preclearance Required for Voting Changes 4

B. The Supreme Court Disagrees With the Department of Justice's View of Its Role Under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act 4

1. Miller v. Johnson 4

2. Bossier Parish I and II 5

VI. COMPLICATING THE LEGAL STANDARD - SHAW v. RENO 6

A. Shaw v. Reno and Its Progeny 6

B. The Dilemma Facing Governmental Bodies 7

C. Possible Guidance on How to Succeed in Redistricting in a Post-Shaw Environment 8

VII. CONCLUSION 11