United States v. Hays, 515 U.S. 737 (1995)

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appeal from the united states district court for the western district of louisiana

No. 94-558. Argued April 19, 1995—Decided June 29, 1995*

Appellees claim in this litigation that Louisiana's congressional redistricting plan (Act 1) is a racial gerrymander that violates the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause. While their claim's primary focus is District 4, a majority-minority district, appellees live in District 5. The District Court invalidated Act 1, and the State and the United States, which had precleared Act 1 pursuant to its authority under the Voting Rights Act of 1965, appealed directly to this Court.

Held: Appellees lack standing to challenge Act 1. This Court has recognized that a generalized grievance against allegedly illegal governmental conduct is insufficient to provide standing, see, e. g., Valley Forge Christian College v. Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Inc., 454 U. S. 464, and has applied that rule in the equal protection context, see Allen v. Wright, 468 U. S. 737, 755. Thus, appellees' position that "anybody in the State" can state a racial gerrymander claim is rejected, and they must show that they, personally, have been subjected to a racial classification. Appellees, however, have pointed to no evidence tending to show that they have suffered personal injury, and review of the record has revealed none. Assuming, arguendo, that the evidence here is sufficient to state a claim under Shaw v. Reno, 509 U. S. 630, with respect to District 4, it does not prove that the state legislature intended District 5 to have a particular racial composition. Similarly, the fact that Act 1 affects all Louisiana voters by classifying each of them as a member of a particular congressional district does not mean that every voter has standing to challenge Act 1 as a racial classification. The Court's holding in Powers v. Ohio, 499 U. S. 400, that an individual has the right not to be excluded from a jury on account of race does not support appellees' position. A juror so excluded has personally suffered the race-based harm recognized in Powers, and it is the fact of personal injury that appellees have failed to establish here. Pp. 742-747.

862 F. Supp. 119, vacated and remanded.

*Together with No. 94-627, Louisiana et al. v. Hays et al., also on appeal from the same court.


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