Shaw v. Hunt, 517 U.S. 899, 12 (1996)

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Opinion of the Court

effects of societal discrimination is not a compelling interest. Wygant, supra, at 274-275, 276, 288.5 Second, the institution that makes the racial distinction must have had a "strong basis in evidence" to conclude that remedial action was necessary, "before it embarks on an affirmative-action program," 476 U. S., at 277 (plurality opinion) (emphasis added).

In this suit, the District Court found that an interest in ameliorating past discrimination did not actually precipitate the use of race in the redistricting plan. While some legislators invoked the State's history of discrimination as an argument for creating a second majority-black district, the court found that these members did not have enough voting power to have caused the creation of the second district on that basis alone. 861 F. Supp., at 471.

Appellees, to support their claim that the plan was drawn to remedy past discrimination, rely on passages from two reports prepared for this litigation by a historian and a social scientist. Brief for Appellees Gingles et al. 40-44, citing H. Watson, Race and Politics in North Carolina, 1865-1994, App. 610-624 (excerpts), and J. Kousser, After 120 Years: Redistricting and Racial Discrimination in North Carolina, id., at 602-609 (excerpts). Obviously these reports, both dated March 1994, were not before the General Assembly when it enacted Chapter 7. And there is little to suggest that the legislature considered the historical events and social-science data that the reports recount, beyond what individual members may have recalled from personal experience. We certainly cannot say on the basis of these reports that the District Court's findings on this point were clearly erroneous.

5 For examples of this limitation in application see Wygant, 476 U. S., at 274-276 (where a plurality of the Court concluded that remedying societal discrimination and promoting role models for students was not a compelling interest); Richmond v. J. A. Croson Co., supra, at 498-506.

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