In 1996, the ACLU filed this suit on behalf of residents of the Flathead and Blackfeet Indian Reservations claiming that the 1993 legislative redistricting plan diluted the American Indian voting strength in violation of the 1964 Voting Rights Act.

After a lengthy trial, the US District Court held that the Indian vote was not diluted. The appeals court rejected the reasoning of the US District Court and remanded the case, but it was dismissed, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals eventually held that the 1993 redistricting did not discriminate against the Native Americans. In 2003, however, a new redistricting plan was adopted which vindicated the previously litigated claims because the new plan restored the Native American voting strength to the new districts.


Laughlin McDonald (ACLU Voting Rights Project)

Date filed

December 2, 1996


United States Court of Appeals, Ninth District

Case number