Shaw v. Hunt, 517 U.S. 899, 5 (1996)

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Cite as: 517 U. S. 899 (1996)

Opinion of the Court

"The first of the two majority-black districts . . . is somewhat hook shaped. Centered in the northeast portion of the State, it moves southward until it tapers to a narrow band; then, with finger-like extensions, it reaches far into the southern-most part of the State near the South Carolina border. . . .

"The second majority-black district, District 12, is even more unusually shaped. It is approximately 160 miles long and, for much of its length, no wider than the [Interstate]-85 corridor. It winds in snakelike fashion through tobacco country, financial centers, and manufacturing areas 'until it gobbles in enough enclaves of black neighborhoods.' " Shaw I, supra, at 635-636 (citation omitted).

Five North Carolinians commenced the present action in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina against various state officials.1 Following our reversal of the District Court's dismissal of their complaint in Shaw I, the District Court allowed a number of individuals to intervene, 11 on behalf of the plaintiffs and 22 for the defendants. After a 6-day trial, the District Court unanimously found "that the Plan's lines were deliberately drawn to produce one or more districts of a certain racial composition." 861 F. Supp. 408, 417, 473-474 (1994). A majority of the court held that the plan was constitutional, nonetheless, because it was narrowly tailored to further the State's compelling interests in complying with 2 and 5 of the Voting Rights Act, 42 U. S. C. 1973, 1973c. 861 F. Supp., at 474. The dissenting judge disagreed with that portion of the judgment. We noted probable jurisdiction. 515 U. S. 1172 (1995).

1 The complaint also named the Attorney General of the United States and the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division as defendants. The District Court granted the federal officials' motion to dismiss, Shaw v. Barr, 808 F. Supp. 461 (EDNC 1992).

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