Teaching Case - New Kingdoms for the Five Kings: Discriminatory Redistricting and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors

New Kingdoms for the Five Kings: Discriminatory Redistricting and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors


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  • Product Description

    This case explores the decade-long political struggle over the geography of districts to be represented by members of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, and the implication of the district lines for the political representation of Mexican-Americans. The five supervisors are among the most powerful local elected officials in the US. Each supervisor represents some 1.75 million; the board as a whole governs five million of the Los Angeles area's eight million inhabitants. In the early 1980s, the historic absence of any Mexican-American member of the board, notwithstanding the large number of Mexican-Americans in metropolitan Los Angeles, spurred the Mexican-American Legal Defense Fund (MALDEF) to contemplate legal action. The case details the negotiations over a variety of possible responses to the MALDEF complaint; the ultimate legal outcome to a court case which evolved from the dispute, as well as the ironic and controversial overturning of an election in which, for the first time, a Mexican-American was elected--from districts the court found violated federal voting rights law.

    Learning Objective:
    The case allows for a variety of approaches, ranging from discussion of the process of drawing election district lines to the question of whether the American system demands or permits representation from specific ethnic groups.

  • Other Details

    Publication Date: January 01, 1991
    Teaching Plan: Available with Educator Access
    HKS Case Number: 1042.0
    Case Author: Nancy D. Kates
    Faculty Lead: Edward Lascher
    Pages (incl. exhibits): 26
    Setting: United States
    Language: English
    Funding Source: Parker Gilbert Montgomery Endowment for Public Policy
    _year: Older than 2000
    _pages: 25+
    _geography: US & Canada
  • Warranty Information

    /review/1042.0.EducatorCopy.pdf, /teachingplan/1042_2.pdf