Bush v. Vera, 517 U.S. 952, 77 (1996)

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Cite as: 517 U. S. 952 (1996)

Souter, J., dissenting

American electorate, its talismanic force does appear to have cooled over time.9 It took Boston Irish voters, for example, to elect Thomas Menino mayor in 1993.10

9 See Karst, Paths to Belonging: The Constitution and Cultural Identity, 64 N. C. L. Rev. 303, 347, 350 (1986) ("[T]he surest path to assimilation is participation in the larger society's activities and institutions. Voting is not just an expression of political preferences; it is an assertion of belonging to a political community. . . ." "When legislative districts are defined in ways that exclude the possibility of significant minority representation, potential minority voters see that their votes are not worth casting. Yet electoral mobilization is vital . . . to the group members' perceptions that they belong to the community"); Walzer, Pluralism in Political Perspective, in The Politics of Ethnicity 1, 18 (S. Thernstrom, A. Orlov, & O. Handlin eds. 1982) ("[P]olitical life is in principle open, and this openness has served to diffuse the most radical forms of ethnic competition"); Kantowicz, Voting and Parties, in The Politics of Ethnicity, supra, at 29, 45 (noting that political successes and recognition made members of an ethnic group "feel that it belonged in the wider society . . . [and brought] them inside the political system"); Mintz, Ethnicity and Leadership: An After-word, in Ethnic Leadership in America 198 (J. Higham ed. 1978) (concluding after reviewing several studies of ethnic politics that "we ignore at our peril the need to understand those processes by which being short-changed . . . politically can become any group's motto or battle standard"); cf. Karlan, Our Separatism 102 ("two generations of communist suppression and ethnic and religious tension in Yugoslavia did little to ensure stability, tolerance, or integration").

10 See, e. g., Nolan, Boston Mayoral Race Could Break Dominance of Ethnicity, Boston Globe, Apr. 9, 1993, p. 40 ("When Boston finishes choosing a new mayor, the city may discover that after centuries of immigration, ethnicity is no longer the dominant factor in its politics"); Black, Once-Solid Voting Blocks are Splitting in Boston, Boston Globe, Nov. 1, 1993, p. 1 (commenting that voters consider Menino's Italian descent "little more than a historical footnote" and observing that "ethnic voting has faded . . . [a]s various groups enter the American economic and social mainstream . . . [and] gain some semblance of [political] power"); D'Innocenzo, Gulotta Can't Count on Ethnicity, Newsday, Oct. 19, 1993, p. 97 (noting that "[t]he vowel at the end of Tom Gulotta's name may not matter in this year's county executive election as it once did" because "Italian-Americans in Nassau County are likely to go to the polls with more than ethnic favoritism in mind"; attributing the decline in ethnicity-based voting to the


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