Bush v. Vera, 517 U.S. 952, 74 (1996)

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1072

BUSH v. VERA

Souter, J., dissenting

of imposing a principle of colorblindness in the name of the Fourteenth Amendment would be submerging the votes of those whom the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments were adopted to protect, precisely the problem that necessitated our recognition of vote dilution as a constitutional violation in the first place. Eliminating districting in the name of colorblindness would produce total submersion; random submersion (or packing) would result from districting by some computerized process of colorblind randomness. Thus, unless the attitudes that produce racial-bloc voting were eliminated along with traditional districting principles, dilution would once again become the norm. While dilution as an intentional constitutional violation would be eliminated by a randomly districted system, this theoretical nicety would be overshadowed by the concrete reality that the result of such a decision would almost inevitably be a so-called "representative" Congress with something like 17 black members. See supra, at 1050. In any event, the submergence would violate the prohibition of even non-intentional dilution found in 2 of the Voting Rights Act. The only way to avoid this conflict would be to declare the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional, a prospect hardly in harmony with the Court's readiness to assume today that compliance with the Voting Rights Act qualifies as a compelling state interest for purposes of litigating a Shaw claim.

The second objection is equally clear. Whatever may be the implications of what I have called Shaw's failings, the Court has repeatedly made it plain that Shaw was in no way intended to effect a revolution by eliminating traditional districting practice for the sake of colorblindness. Shaw I, 509 U. S., at 642 ("Despite their invocation of the ideal of a 'color-blind' Constitution, see Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U. S. 537, 559 (1896) (Harlan, J., dissenting), appellants appear to concede that race-conscious districting is not always unconstitutional. . . . That concession is wise: This Court

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