On March 26, 1962, the Supreme Court handed down a landmark case, temporarily distracting Alabamians from the conflict brewing across the region. Years earlier, Charles Baker, a resident of Shelby County, Tennessee, brought suit against the state for its outdated voting districts, unchanged in over fifty years. As southern cities grew in size, urban counties like Shelby, home to the city of Memphis, began to eclipse rural counties in population. Yet elected officials, afraid that urban voters might include enfranchised African Americans and white liberals, refused to amend voting apportionment to reflect changing demographics. In Tennessee, Baker argued, the districts outlined in the 1901 state constitution provided for an unequal distribution of political power. The United States District Court dismissed the suit, citing lack of judicial authority—in essence, the court argued that the federal government had no responsibility for state political decisions.