Connor v. Finch, 419 F. Supp. 1089 (S.D. Miss. 1976)
September 8, 1976
Cliff FINCH et al., Defendants,
United States of America, Plaintiff-Intervenor.
United States District Court, S. D. Mississippi, Jackson Division.
*1090 Frank R. Parker and John L. Maxey, II, Jackson, Miss., for plaintiffs.
Robert E. Hauberg, U.S. Atty., Jackson, Miss., Gerald W. Jones and Michael D. Johnson, U.S. Dept. of Justice, Washington, D.C., for the United States.
A. F. Summer, Atty. Gen., of Mississippi, William A. Allain and Giles W. Bryant, Asst. Attys. Gen., Jackson, Miss., for the defendants.
Before COLEMAN, Circuit Judge, RUSSELL and COX, District Judges.
Continuing our difficult journey toward a valid reapportionment of the Mississippi Legislature, we now apportion the State of Mississippi into 122 single member districts for the election of members of the State House of Representatives. Our partial decree of August 24, 1976 apportioning the State Senate, including its findings of fact and conclusions of law, is incorporated in and made a part of this decree.
In constructing a system of single member legislative districts, this Court is compelled to ignore the requirements of the Mississippi Constitution that each County shall have one Representative. We are compelled to abandon two 159 year old state policies: (1) multi-member legislative districts and (2) never fracturing county boundaries in the composition of legislative districts. In short, by the erection of single member legislative districts we have revolutionized Mississippi's system of legislative elections. On the other hand, we have striven to preserve county identity as far as reasonably possible, which Mahan v. Howell, 410 U.S. 315, 93 S. Ct. 979, 35 L. Ed. 2d 320 holds to be a legitimate objective. The spirit, if not the letter, of the policy behind the preservation of county boundaries and the integrity of counties as the basic unit of state government has been largely preserved. The basic fabric of Mississippi government has not been materially harmed. This has caused, or rendered unavoidable, the population variations appearing between and among the respective legislative districts. Once the voting public becomes familiar with the new system (which will take time) the best interests of the State will be promoted by single member districts. Using the foundation here established for the first time, when the results of the 1980 census are known, legislative districts may be revised with less population variances and with a negligible impact on the legislative electoral process.
Mississippi has not been allowed to elect a legislature under rules of its own making since 1963. Three quadrennial legislative elections have been held under reapportionments constructed by this Court; yet, for various reasons, none of the Court-ordered plans has ever reached a decision on the merits in the Supreme Court. The most recent effort of the Legislature to reapportion itself foundered upon objections from *1091 the Attorney General of the United States. As the Supreme Court indicated in its opinion of May 19, 1976, the time has come to put an end to this litigation. Prior experience teaches that nothing short of the course we have adopted has any real hope of ending it.
In Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533 at 577, 84 S. Ct. 1362 at 1390, 12 L. Ed. 2d 506, the Supreme Court said that "the Equal Protection Clause requires that a State make an honest and a good faith effort to construct districts, in both houses of its legislature, as nearly of equal population as is practicable."
Consistently with the considerations advanced in our opinion of August 24, 1976, this Court has done all it can do in the way of an honest, good faith effort.
In Reynolds v. Sims, supra, the Supreme Court also said:
"A State may legitimately desire to maintain the integrity of various political subdivisions, insofar as possible, and provide for compact districts of contiguous territory in designing a legislative apportionment scheme. Valid considerations may underlie such aims. Indiscriminate districting, without any regard for political subdivision or natural or historical boundary lines, may be little more than an open invitation to partisan gerrymandering." Mahan v. Howell confirmed this principle.
In the formulation of our Court-ordered plan, literally hundreds of boundary possibilities have been considered in an effort to achieve population norms but there has been no gerrymandering.
It is Ordered, Adjudged and Decreed that for the regular quadrennial elections of 1979, and thereafter until changed according to law, the 122 members of the Mississippi House of Representatives shall be elected from 122 districts, as follows, to-wit:
Population and percentage over or District under the Number Description population norm 1 DeSoto County: Beat 3, Beat 4, and the Precinct of Hernando East 17,802 - 2.0 2 DeSoto County: Beat 1, Beat 2, and the Precincts of Alphaba, Lewisburg West, Love, Nesbit East, and Pleasant Hill 18,083 - 0.5 3 Marshall County: Beats 1, 2, 3, and 4 19,226 + 5.8
*1092 Population and percentage over or District under the Number Description population norm 4 Benton County; Marshall County: Beat 5; Lafayette County: Beats 2 and 3 19,235 + 5.9 5 Tippah County; Prentiss County: Beat 2 19,879 + 9.4 6 Alcorn County: Beat 1, Beat 4, Beat 5, and the Precincts of Biggersville and Rienzi 19,377 + 6.6 7 Tishomingo County: Beats 1, 2, 3, and 4 Alcorn County: Beat 2, and the Precinct of South Corinth 19,754 + 8.7 8 Tunica County: Beats 1, 2, 3, and 4, plus the Armory Precinct; Coahoma County: The Precincts of Coahoma, Jonestown, Lula, and Mattson 16,635 - 8.5 9 Tate County; 18,544 + 2.1
*1093 Population and percentage over or District under the Number Description population norm 10 Panola County: Beats 1, 2, and 5 19,137 + 5.3 11 Panola County: Beats 3 and 4; Yalobusha County: Beats 1, 2, 3, and 4 17,302 - 4.8 12 Lafayette County: Beats 1, 4, and 5 17,252 - 5.1 13 Union County; 19,096 + 5.1 14 Prentiss County: Beats 1, 3, 4, and 5; Tishomingo County: Beat 5 19,094 + 5.1 15 Coahoma County: Beat 2; Lyon Precinct in Beat 1; Clarksdale, Rena Lara, and Bobo Precincts in Beat 5 17,303 - 4.8 16 Coahoma County: Beat 4; All Clarksdale Precincts in Beats 1 and 3; Roundaway Precinct in Beat 5 17,017 - 6.4
*1094 Population and percentage over or District under the Number Description population norm 17 Quitman County; Tunica County: The Precinct of Two Mile Lake 17,234 - 5.2 18 Pontotoc County; 17,363 - 4.4 19 Lee County: Beat 1, Beat 2, and Belden Precinct 19,411 + 6.8 20 Lee County: The Precincts of Auburn, Bissell, East Heights North, East Heights South, Eggville, Gilvo, Mooreville, Old Union, Palmetto, Tupelo III, Tupelo IV, Tupelo V, and Verona 19,058 + 4.9 21 Itawamba County; Lee County: The Precincts of Petersburg, Plantersville, and Richmond 19,146 + 5.4 22 Bolivar County: Beat 1, and the Precincts of Pace, Longshot, Shaw, Skene, and Stringtown; Sunflower County: The Precinct of Boyer-Linn 16,687 - 8.2
*1095 Population and percentage over or District under the Number Description population norm 23 Bolivar County: The Precincts of Central Cleveland, East Central Cleveland, East Cleveland, West Cleveland, and Boyle 17,037 - 6.2 24 Bolivar County: Beat 3, and the Precincts of North Cleveland and Merigold 16,912 - 6.9 25 Sunflower County: Beat 1, Beat 3, and the Precinct of Moorhead 17,605 - 3.1 26 Sunflower County: Beat 5; Sunflower and Indianola Precincts in Beat 2; Dockery, Doddsville, and Ruleville Precincts in Beat 4 18,215 + 0.2 27 Tallahatchie County: Beats 1, 2, 4, and 5, and the Precinct of Paynes 17,487 - 3.8 28 Calhoun County; Yalobusha County: Beat 5 16,928 - 6.8
*1096 Population and percentage over or District under the Number Description population norm 29 Chickasaw County; Lee County: The Precincts of Pleasant Grove and Shannon 19,001 + 4.6 30 Monroe County: Beat 4, and the Precincts of Aberdeen III, Lackey, Central Grove, Boyd's (Pine Grove), Nettleton, Willis, and Wren Lee County: The Precincts of Brewer, Kedron, and Nettleton 18,251 + 0.4 31 Monroe County: Beat 1, Beat 2, and the Precincts of Amory V, Bartahatchie, Bigbee, Gattman, Grubb Springs, and Hamilton 18,976 + 4.4 32 Issaquena County; Washington County: Beat 1, and the Precinct of Avon 18,205 + 0.2 33 Washington County: The Precincts of Ward Center, Community Center, Arcola, and Hollandale 17,409 - 4.2
*1097 Population and percentage over or District under the Number Description population norm 34 Washington County: Beat 3, and the Precinct of New County Garage 19,472 + 7.2 35 Washington County: The Precincts of Darlove, Bourbon, County Recreation Center, Industrial College, Leland Health Clinic, and Leland Light Plant 18,232 + 0.3 36 Leflore County: Beat 1, Beat 3, and the Precinct of Money 18,111 - 0.3 37 Leflore County: Beats 4 and 5 16,765 - 7.7 38 Carroll County; Leflore County: The Precincts of Northeast Greenwood and East Greenwood Attala County: Beat 3, less Possumneck Precinct 17,543 - 3.5 39 Grenada County: Beats 1, 3, 4, and 5; Tallahatchie County: Beat 3, less Paynes Precinct 17,732 - 2.4 40 Montgomery County; Grenada County: Beat 2 16,891 - 7.0
*1098 Population and percentage over or District under the Number Description population norm 41 The Counties of Choctaw and Webster; 18,487 + 1.7 42 Clay County; 18,840 + 3.7 43 Oktibbeha County: Beats 1, 3, 4, and the Precinct of Hickory Grove 18,981 + 4.5 44 Oktibbeha County: Beat 5, and the Precincts of Northeast Starkville, and Osborn; Lowndes County: The Precincts of Mayhew, West Lowndes, Barrow, and University 18,721 + 3.0 45 Lowndes County: The Precincts of Air Base, Caledonia, Rural Hill, New Hope, Fairview, and Coleman 18,641 + 2.3 46 Lowndes County: The Precincts of Brandon, Lee High, Stokes-Beard, Sale, Franklin, Caldwell, and Hunt 18,162 - 0.0
*1099 Population and percentage over or District under the Number Description population norm 47 Sharkey County; Humphreys County: Beat 5; Yazoo County: The Precincts of Carter, Lake City, Zion, Eden, Free Run, East Midway, West Midway, Harttown, Enola, Fairview, and Holly Bluff 16,521 - 9.1 48 Humphreys County: Beats 1, 2, 3, and 4; Holmes County: The Precincts of Coxburg, Tchula, and Thornton 17,406 - 4.2 49 Holmes County: Entire County, less the Precincts of Coxburg, Tchula, and Thornton 17,602 - 3.1 50 Attala County: Beats 1, 2, 4, 5, and the Precinct of Possumneck 18,659 + 2.7 51 Winston County; 18,406 + 1.3 52 Noxubee County; Lowndes County: The Precincts of Crawford and Artesia 18,235 + 0.4
*1100 Population and percentage over or District under the Number Description population norm 53 Warren County: The Precincts of Beechwood, Jett, Redbone, Yokena, Goodrum, and Tingle 16,703 - 8.1 54 Warren County: The Precincts of Cedar Grove, St. Aloysius, Auditorium, Central Fire, American Legion, Fire Station No. 7, and Jonestown 16,793 - 7.6 55 Warren County: The Precincts of Kings, Oak Ridge, Walters, Brunswick, Redwood, Bovina, and Culkin; (Warren County reapportionment by Beats is on appeal to the Supreme Court). Yazoo County: The Precincts of Dover, East Bentonia, West Bentonia, Mechanicsburg, Phoenix, Satartia, Fugate, Deasonville, and Valley 17,006 - 6.4 56 Yazoo County: The Precincts of Benton, Center Ridge, Robinette, East Court-house, West Courthouse, South City Hall, North City Hall, West Lintonia, and East Lintonia 16,912 - 6.9 (Yazoo County is in the process of reapportionment by Beats; hence we use Precincts).
*1101 Population and percentage over or District under the Number Description population norm 57 Madison County: Beats 1, 4, and 5 19,853 + 9.3 58 Leake County; Neshoba County: The Precincts of Hays, Turner, Dixon, and Groves 19,012 + 4.6 59 Neshoba County: The entire County, less the Precincts of Hays, Turner, Dixon, and Groves 18,875 + 3.9 60 Kemper County; Lauderdale County: All Precincts in Beats 1 and 2 outside the City of Meridian; The Precincts of Center Hill, Obadiah, and Shucktown in Beat 3 19,342 + 6.4 61 Hinds County: Precincts 17, 35-38, 42-45, Twin Pines 62 Hinds County: Precincts 27, 29, 39-41, 79-83, Liberty Grove
*1102 Population and percentage over or District under the Number Description population norm 63 Hinds County: Precincts 1, 5, 6, 8, 9, 14-16, 32-34 64 Hinds County: Precincts 12, 13, 21-23, 28, 30 65 Hinds County: Precincts 2, 4, 10, 11, 18, 19, 50 66 Hinds County: Precincts 20, 31, 52, 55-57, 61 67 Hinds County: Precincts 47, 51, 53, 58, 63, 64, 66 68 Hinds County: Precincts 24-26, 54, 59, 60, 62, 67-69 69 Hinds County: Precincts 49, 70-77 70 Hinds County: Precincts of Bolton, Brownsville, Clinton 1, Clinton 2, Clinton 3, Clinton 4, Cynthia, Flag Chapel, North Clinton, Pocahontas, Presidential Hills, Tinnin
*1103 Population and percentage over or District under the Number Description population norm 71 Hinds County: Precincts of Cayuga, Edwards, Fairfax, Hickory, Learned, Midway, Raymond 1, Raymond 2, Van Winkle 1, Van Winkle 2 72 Hinds County: Precincts of Briarcliff, Byram, Chapel Hill, Dry Grove, Forest Hill, Old Byram, Red Hill, Terry, Utica 1, Utica 2, Woodville Heights The single member district plan ordered into effect by this 3-Judge Court for Hinds County in 1975 resulted in the election of three black Representatives, where none had been elected before. We leave these Districts unchanged. 73 Rankin County: Beat 2; Madison County: Beats 2 and 3 18,731 + 3.1 74 Rankin County: Beats 4 and 5 17,624 - 3.0 75 Rankin County: Beats 1 and 3 17,462 - 3.9
*1104 Population and percentage over or District under the Number Description population norm 76 Scott County: Beats 1, 2, 4, and 5 17,087 - 6.0 77 Newton County; 18,983 + 4.5 78 Lauderdale County: Meridian City Precincts 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, and 8, and the County Precinct of School Gap 19,143 + 5.3 79 Lauderdale County: Meridian City Precincts 5, 6, 9, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18, and the Precinct of East Bonita 19,266 + 6.0 80 Lauderdale County: All Precincts in Beat 3 outside the the City of Meridian except Obadiah, Shucktown, Center Hill, and School Gap; All Precincts in Beat 4 except Meridian Precinct No. 13; All Precincts in Beat 5 outside the City of Meridian except East Bonita 19,569 + 7.7 81 The Counties of Claiborne and Jefferson; 19,381 + 6.7
*1105 Population and percentage over or District under the Number Description population norm 82 Copiah County: Beat 1, Beat 4, Beat 5, and the Precincts of East Hazlehurst, West Hazlehurst, Barlow, Glancy, and Allen 18,972 + 4.4 83 Lawrence County; Copiah County: Beat 2 and the Precincts of Ainsworth and Martinsville West; Simpson County: The Precincts of Bridgeport, Pinola, and Shivers 18,647 + 2.6 84 Simpson County: Beat 1, Beat 2, Beat 3, Beat 5; the Precincts of Magee North and Magee South 18,214 + 0.2 85 Smith County; Scott County: Beat 2 17,843 - 1.8 86 Jasper County: Beats 1, 3, 4, and 5; Jones County: The Precincts of Gitano, Matthews, and Shady Grove 17,408 - 4.2 87 Clarke County; Jasper County: Beat 2 16,701 - 8.1
*1106 Population and percentage over or District under the Number Description population norm 88 Adams County: Beats 1 and 2, and the Precincts of Liberty Park, Concord, and Palestine 19,109 + 5.2 89 Adams County: Beats 4 and 5, and the Precinct of Somerset 18,184 + 0.1 90 Franklin County; Lincoln County: Beat 4, and the Precincts of Caseyville, Loyd Star, Old Red Star, Vaughn, and Zetus 16,966 - 6.6 91 Lincoln County: Beat 1, Beat 2, Beat 3, and the Precinct of Northwest Brookhaven 17,243 + 5.1 92 Jefferson Davis County: Beats 1, 3, 4, and 5; Covington County: Beat 3, Beat 4, Beat 5, and the Precincts of South Collins and Eminence 19,825 + 9.1 93 Jones County: Beat 2, and the Precincts of West Jones, Mason School, 26th Street Fire Station, and Lamar School 17,470 - 3.9
*1107 Population and percentage over or District under the Number Description population norm 94 Jones County: Beat 3, and the Precincts of Sharon, Sandersville, City Barn, Maddox School, Stone Deavours School 18,439 + 1.5 95 Jones County: Beat 4, and the Precincts of Moselle, Pendorf, Pine Grove, Rainey, South Jones, and Shelton 17,382 - 4.3 96 Wayne County; 16,650 - 8.4 97 Wilkinson County; Amite County: Beats 1, 2, and 3 19,354 + 6.5 98 Pike County: Beats 1 and 5; Amite County: Beats 4 and 5 18,211 - 0.2 99 Pike County: Beats 2, 3, and 4 19,053 + 4.9 100 Walthall County; Jefferson Davis County: Beat 2; Marion County: The Precincts of Goss, Morgantown, white Bluff, Stovall, and Kokomo 18,371 + 1.1
*1108 Population and percentage over or District under the Number Description population norm 101 Marion County: Entire County except the Precincts of Goss, Morgantown, White Bluff, Stovall, and Kokomo 19,587 + 7.8 102 Lamar County; Covington County: Beat 1, and the Precincts of Richmond and Sanford 19,735 + 8.6 103 Forrest County: The Precincts of Lillie Burney, Woodley School, Jones School, Petal High, East Bowie, Petal-Harvey, Camp School, and Hawkins Junior High 17,504 - 3.7 104 Forrest County: The Precincts of Blair High, Eatonville, Glendale, Petal-Leeville, Rawls Springs, Macedonia, Davis School, Grace Christian, and Pinecrest 17,555 - 3.4 105 Forrest County: The Precincts of Central School, Dixie School, Westside, Eaton School, Sunrise, Walthall, Dixie Pine, Rowan High, William Carey, and Thames 17,799 - 2.0
*1109 Population and percentage over or District under the Number Description population norm 106 Forrest County: The Precincts of Forrest County A.H.S., McCallum, McLaurin, Brooklyn, Carnes, and Maxie; Pearl River County: The Precincts of Poplarville East, Poplarville West, Byrd Line, Hickory Grove, Gum Pond, Wolf River, Oak Hill, Hillsdale, Fords Creek, Buck Branch, White Sand, Mill Creek, Derby, Progress, Silver Run, Steep Hollow, Savannah, McNeill, and Caesar; Stone County: Beat 2 17,377 - 4.4 107 The Counties of Greene and Perry ; 17,610 - 3.1 108 Pearl River County: Beat 4, and the Precincts of Picayune I, II, III, and V; the Precincts of Ozone, Carriere, and Salem 17,036 - 6.2 109 George County; Stone County: Beats 1, 3, 4, and 5 18,940 + 4.2
*1110 Population and percentage over or District under the Number Description population norm 110 Hancock County; 17,387 - 4.3 111 Harrison County: The Precincts of Biloxi Nos. 1-4, D'Iberville, North Bay, and White Plains 19,217 + 5.8 112 Harrison County: The Precincts of Biloxi Nos. 5-7, 7A-8, Holly Hills, and Howard Creek 19,086 + 5.0 113 Harrison County: The Precincts of Stonewall, West Handsboro, Biloxi Nos. 9-11, and East Handsboro 19,139 + 5.3 114 Harrison County: The Precincts of Gulfport Nos. 7 and 12, New Hope, E & W Saucier, Gulfport No. 11, Advance, East Lyman, East Orange Grove, Peace, and Poplar Head 19,324 + 6.3 115 Harrison County: The Precincts of Gulfport Nos. 4, 5, 6, 8, and 9, East and West Mississippi City, and East and West North Gulfport 19,380 + 6.7
*1111 Population and percentage over or District under the Number Description population norm 116 Harrison County: The Precincts of Gulfport Nos. 13 and 14, Gulfport Nos. 2, 3, and 10, outside Long Beach, West Orange Grove, West Lyman, and Lizana 19,020 + 4.7 117 Harrison County: The Precincts of Gulfport No. 1, East Pass Christian, West Pass Christian, East Long Beach, West Long Beach, Pineville, Delisle, Ladner, Vidalia, and Riceville 19,416 + 6.9 118 Jackson County: Beat 1 17,595 - 3.2 119 Jackson County: Beat 2 17,595 - 3.2 120 Jackson County: Beat 3 17,595 - 3.2 121 Jackson County: Beat 4 17,595 - 3.2 122 Jackson County: Beat 5 17,595 - 3.2
*1112 (The County has been reapportioned by Federal Court Order, with practically equal population in each Beat). Total Population assigned to the 122 Districts 2,216,912 Total Population of the State, 1970 Census 2,216,912
The special problems and unusual circumstances involved in dismantling a 159 year old system of legislative elections in Mississippi, and constructing an entirely new system of single member districts, were described in our opinion of August 24, 1976, redistricting the State for the election of 52 Senators. We need not repeat them with reference to the House of Representatives, except to emphasize that the exceedingly low 1% population norm of 181 persons has made our task with reference to 122 House members far more difficult.
We are aware that in Chapman v. Meier, 420 U.S. 1, 95 S. Ct. 751 at 764, 42 L. Ed. 2d 766, with reference to court-ordered plans the Supreme Court held that a maximum deviation of 20% is
"impermissible in the absence of significant state policies or other considerations that require adoption of a plan with so great a variance. The burden is on the District Court to elucidate the reasons necessitating any departure from the goal of population equality, and to articulate clearly the relationship between the variance and the state policy furthered".
This Court makes no effort to conceal its unhappiness that in this 122 seat reapportionment District 5 is 9.4% over the norm, District 57 is 9.3% over the norm, and District 92 is 9.1% above the norm. District 47 is 9.1% below the norm. Thus, there is an aggregate deviation of 18.5%. Even so, 74 districts vary no more than 5% either way.
Districts 5 and 92 are in the heavily populated white area of Northeast Mississippi. Tippah County is 16% black. Prentiss County is 11% black. The Districts are surrounded by Districts also above the norm. A shift of a few dangling precincts, of uncertain population, to achieve a smaller variation would have no impact on the personal identity or political principles of the Representatives chosen from these Districts. On the other hand, considering Mississippi's system of counties, beats, precincts, and permanent voter registration such shifts would complicate the legislative electoral process in this area, with no added benefit to the effectiveness of the individual vote.
District 47 is situated in a solidly black area (black population percentages 68%, 64%, and 53%). It is in the Delta, cut up by numerous bayous, lakes and a major river. It is surrounded by Districts already below the norm.
District 57 is wholly within Madison County (62.3% black), which has not been reapportioned under the one man-one vote rule. When this occurs this District will have approximately 17,841 people, or 1.2% below the norm.
District 92 is composed of parts of two small counties, adjacent to the County of Jones, which alone has enough population for 3 Representatives. Diligent search for a viable percentage reduction here has been fruitless.
*1113 Black Population Majority Districts in this Court Ordered Reapportionment of the Mississippi House of Representatives District 3 Marshall County is 61.9% black. Districts 8, 15, and Tunica County is 16 72.6% black; Coahoma County is 64.3% black. District 10 Panola County is 51.2% black. District 17 Quitman County is 57.4% black; Tunica County is 72.6% black. Districts 22, 23, 24, Bolivar County is 25, and 26 61.4% black; Sunflower County is 62.7% black. District 27 Tallahatchie County is 60.1% black. Districts 32, 33, 34, Issaquena County is and 35 62% black; Washington County is 54.4% black. Districts 36 and 37 Leflore County is 57.8% black. District 38 Carroll County is 50.7% black, Leflore County is 57.8% black, Beat 3 of Attala County is 25% black. Districts 47, 48, 49, Sharkey and Humphrey and 56 Counties are 64% black, Holmes County is 68% black, and Yazoo County is 53% black. District 52 Noxubee County is 65% black; the precincts of Artesia and Crawford are preponderantly black. District 57 Madison County is 62.3% black.
*1114 Districts 61-72 Elected three black Hinds County Representatives in 1975. District 81 Claiborne County is 74.5% black; Jefferson County is 75.2% black. District 97 Wilkinson County is 67% black; Amite County is 50.4% black. Thirty Districts have black population majorities. Kemper County, black population 54%, is the only black majority county wholly attached to a white majority county area to form a district. It has only 10,233 people, 56% of the required population norm for a House Seat.
In the Order of June 25, 1975, we stated that when a permanent plan for the reapportionment of the Mississippi Legislature "shall have been accomplished, special elections may be ordered in those legislative districts where required by law, equity, or the Constitution of the United States".
In our Order of July 8, 1975, dealing with the temporary plan for elections in that year, we said:
"We have determined that no irreparable injury will occur by allowing the 1975 legislative elections to proceed under a temporary plan on the dates provided by law. If the permanent plan, later to be adopted manifests that the temporary plan has caused such an [irreparable] injury the same shall be corrected by special elections as provided by Mississippi law."
As in our partial decree of August 24, 1976, with reference to the Mississippi State Senate, we now direct the parties within fifteen (15) days to file a list of the districts for the election of Representatives in which special elections should be held, if there are any such districts, assigning their reasons as to each district individually.
Upon the receipt of this information, the Court will rule thereon as quickly as reasonably possible. Should special elections be ordered in any district, the same will be held only after fully adequate notice and in time for the person elected to take his seat when the Legislature is convened in regular session in January, 1977.
This is not a final decree. The final decree, incorporating all decrees, will be entered when the Court disposes of the matter of special elections.