Shaw v. Hunt, 517 U.S. 899, 2 (1996)

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900

SHAW v. HUNT

Syllabus

ling state interest, but also that it was narrowly tailored to achieve that interest. Id., at 920. Pp. 904-908. (b) None of the three separate "compelling interests" to which appellees point suffices to sustain District 12. First, the District Court found that the State's claimed interest in eradicating the effects of past discrimination did not actually precipitate the use of race in the redistricting plan, and the record does not establish that that finding was clearly erroneous. Second, the asserted interest in complying with 5 of the Voting Rights Act did not justify redistricting here, since creating an additional majority-black district, as urged by the Justice Department before it granted preclearance, was not required under a correct reading of 5. See Miller, 515 U. S., at 921. This Court again rejects the Department's expansive reading of 5 and of its own authority thereunder as requiring States to maximize the number of majority-minority districts wherever possible. See, e. g., id., at 925. Third, District 12, as drawn, is not a remedy narrowly tailored to the State's professed interest in avoiding liability under 2 of the Act, which, inter alia, prohibits dilution of the voting strength of members of a minority group. District 12 could not remedy any potential 2 violation, since the minority group must be shown to be "geographically compact" to establish 2 liability, see, e. g., Thornburg v. Gingles, 478 U. S. 30, 50, and it cannot reasonably be suggested that District 12 contains a "geographically compact" population of any race. Appellees are singularly unpersuasive when they argue that a majority-minority district may be drawn anywhere if there is a strong basis in evidence for concluding that a 2 violation exists somewhere in the State. A district so drawn could not avoid 2 liability, which targets vote-dilution injury to individuals in a particular area, not to the minority as a group. Just as in Miller, this Court does not here reach the question whether compliance with the Act, on its own, can be a compelling state interest under the proper circumstances. Pp. 908-918.

861 F. Supp. 408, reversed.

Rehnquist, C. J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which O'Connor, Scalia, Kennedy, and Thomas, JJ., joined. Stevens, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Ginsburg and Breyer, JJ., joined as to Parts II, III, IV, and V, post, p. 918. Souter, J., filed a dissenting statement, in which Ginsburg and Breyer, JJ., joined, post, p. 951.

Robinson O. Everett argued the cause and filed briefs for appellants in No. 94-923.

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