Shaw v. Hunt, 517 U.S. 899, 16 (1996)

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Opinion of the Court

With respect to 2, appellees contend, and the District Court found, that failure to enact a plan with a second majority-black district would have left the State vulnerable to a lawsuit under this section. Our precedent establishes that a plaintiff may allege a 2 violation in a single-member district if the manipulation of districting lines fragments politically cohesive minority voters among several districts or packs them into one district or a small number of districts, and thereby dilutes the voting strength of members of the minority population. Id., at 1007. To prevail on such a claim, a plaintiff must prove that the minority group "is sufficiently large and geographically compact to constitute a majority in a single-member district"; that the minority group "is politically cohesive"; and that "the white majority votes sufficiently as a bloc to enable it . . . usually to defeat the minority's preferred candidate." Thornburg v. Gingles, 478 U. S. 30, 50-51 (1986); Growe v. Emison, 507 U. S. 25 (1993) (recognizing that the three Gingles preconditions would apply to a 2 challenge to a single-member district). A court must also consider all other relevant circumstances and must ultimately find based on the totality of those circumstances that members of a protected class "have less opportunity than other members of the electorate to participate in the political process and to elect representatives of their choice." 42 U. S. C. 1973(b). See De Grandy, supra, at 1010-1012.

United States as Amicus Curiae 25; 861 F. Supp. 408, 474 (1994) (case below). The "reassessment" was the legislature's determination that it may be susceptible to a 2 challenge. Id., at 464-465. Even if the General Assembly properly reached that conclusion, we doubt that a showing of discriminatory effect under 2, alone, could support a claim of discriminatory purpose under 5. Even if discriminatory purpose could be shown, the means of avoiding such a violation could be race neutral, and so we also doubt that the prospect of violating the purpose prong of 5 could justify a race-based redistricting plan such as the one implemented by North Carolina.

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