Shaw v. Hunt, 517 U.S. 899, 8 (1996)

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Opinion of the Court

graphically non-compact by any objective standard that can be conceived." 861 F. Supp., at 469. In fact, the serpentine district has been dubbed the least geographically compact district in the Nation. App. 332.

The District Court also had direct evidence of the legislature's objective. The State's submission for preclearance expressly acknowledged that Chapter 7's "overriding purpose was to comply with the dictates of the Attorney General's December 18, 1991 letter and to create two congressional districts with effective black voting majorities." App. 162 (emphasis added). This admission was confirmed by Gerry Cohen, the plan's principal draftsman, who testified that creating two majority-black districts was the "principal reason" for Districts 1 and 12. Id., at 675; Tr. 514. Indeed, appellees in their first appearance before the District Court "formally concede[d] that the state legislature deliberately created the two districts in a way to assure black-voter majorities," Shaw v. Barr, 808 F. Supp. 461, 470 (EDNC 1992), and that concession again was credited by the District Court on remand, 861 F. Supp., at 473-474. See also Shaw I, supra, at 666 (White, J., dissenting) ("The State has made no mystery of its intent, which was to respond to the Attorney General's objections by improving the minority group's prospects of electing a candidate of its choice" (citation omitted)). Here, as in Miller, "we fail to see how the District Court could have reached any conclusion other than that race was the predominant factor in drawing [the challenged district]." Miller, supra, at 918.

In his dissent, Justice Stevens argues that strict scrutiny does not apply where a State "respects" or "compl[ies] with traditional districting principles." Post, at 931- 932 ("[R]ace-based districting which respects traditional districting principles does not give rise to constitutional suspicion"), post, at 932 ("Miller demonstrates that although States may avoid strict scrutiny by complying with traditional districting principles . . . "). That, however, is not the

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