Did the 4th Circuit Wrongly Decide Raleigh Wake Citizens Association?
If you have no legal experience… perfect! This is a great “getting your feet wet” case for reading legal decisions! This post series will analyze the recent ruling by the 4th Circuit section by section, while referencing the dissent as well as the majority opinion. For those who are not experienced reading a legal decision:
-I have prefaced my analysis with a brief explanation of each section of the decision and why it’s important
-I have opted to use simple page numbers as citations, rather than proper legal format
-I have tried to keep the legal jargon to a minimum.
-And, where possible, you’ll see bulleted lists like this one.
-For these posts, I’ll also critique the majority opinion as necessary
Part III – Analysis
This is the heart of the case, where the court explains its legal reasoning. I’m not going to detail everything in this Part of the opinion, because affirming a lower court is essentially the appellate court saying “They got this right / didn’t get it wrong, so we’re not changing anything.” It’s the time-consuming part of following a legal opinion, as you’ll see after the jump. Keep reading, though – this is also the fun part!
The analysis section of the majority opinion (which looks worse than it is, I swear!) is laid out as follows:
Part III-A: Which precedents the court used in analyzing this case
Part III-B1: Mistaken standard of review by district court
Part III-B2: Legal elements
Part III-B3: Weight and value of evidence presented
Part III-B4: Asserts that district court decided wrongly
Part III-C1: Authority to Rule, Rather than Remand
Part III-C2: Restates facts and trial testimony in support of ruling
Part III-C3: “One person, one vote” analysis – Illegitimate Factors
Part III-C4: “One person, one vote” analysis – Justifications on Pretext & Legitimate Factors
Part III-C5: Reversal of district court
Part III-C6: Deference of ruling on urban vs. rural apportionment
Part III-D: State-level “One person, one vote” claim
Part IV: “No clear error” in district court rejection of racial gerrymandering claim
Part IV-A: Elements of claim, and standard of review
Part IV-B: Explanation of affirmance