Shaw v. Hunt, 517 U.S. 899, 17 (1996)

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

Opinion of the Court

We assume, arguendo, for the purpose of resolving this suit, that compliance with 2 could be a compelling interest, and we likewise assume, arguendo, that the General Assembly believed a second majority-minority district was needed in order not to violate 2, and that the legislature at the time it acted had a strong basis in evidence to support that conclusion. We hold that even with the benefit of these assumptions, the North Carolina plan does not survive strict scrutiny because the remedy—the creation of District 12— is not narrowly tailored to the asserted end.

Although we have not always provided precise guidance on how closely the means (the racial classification) must serve the end (the justification or compelling interest), we have always expected that the legislative action would substantially address, if not achieve, the avowed purpose. See Miller, supra, at 922 ("[T]he judiciary retains an independent obligation . . . to ensure that the State's actions are narrowly tailored to achieve a compelling interest"); Wygant, 476 U. S., at 280 (opinion of Powell, J.) ("[T]he means chosen to accomplish the State's asserted purpose must be specifically and narrowly framed to accomplish that purpose") id., at 278, n. 5 (opinion of Powell, J.) (race-based state action must be remedial); Shaw I, 509 U. S., at 655 ("A reapportionment plan would not be narrowly tailored to the goal of avoiding retrogression if the State went beyond what was reasonably necessary to avoid retrogression"). Cf. Missouri v. Jenkins, 515 U. S. 70, 88 (1995) (With regard to the remedial authority of a federal court: " 'The remedy must . . . be related to "the condition alleged to offend the Constitution . . . ."'" and must be " 'remedial in nature, that is, it must be designed as nearly as possible "to restore the victims of discriminatory conduct to the position they would have occupied in the absence of such conduct" ' ") (quoting Milliken v. Bradley, 433 U. S. 267, 280-281 (1977), in turn quoting Milliken v. Bradley, 418 U. S. 717, 738, 746 (1974)). Where, as


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