Shaw v. Hunt, 517 U.S. 899, 18 (1996)

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Opinion of the Court

here, we assume avoidance of 2 liability to be a compelling state interest, we think that the racial classification would have to realize that goal; the legislative action must, at a minimum, remedy the anticipated violation or achieve compliance to be narrowly tailored.7

District 12 could not remedy any potential 2 violation. As discussed above, a plaintiff must show that the minority group is "geographically compact" to establish 2 liability. No one looking at District 12 could reasonably suggest that the district contains a "geographically compact" population of any race. See 861 F. Supp., at 469. Therefore where that district sits, "there neither has been a wrong nor can be a remedy." Growe, supra, at 41 (footnote omitted).8

Appellees do not defend District 12 by arguing that the district is geographically compact, however. Rather they contend, and a majority of the District Court agreed, 861 F. Supp., at 454-455, n. 50, that once a legislature has a strong basis in evidence for concluding that a 2 violation exists in the State, it may draw a majority-minority district anywhere, even if the district is in no way coincident with

7 We do not suggest that where the governmental interest is eradicating the effects of past discrimination the race-based action necessarily would have to achieve fully its task to be narrowly tailored.

8 Justice Stevens in dissent argues that it does not matter that District 12 could not possibly remedy a 2 violation because he believes the State's plan would avoid 2 liability. Post, at 946-947. As support, Justice Stevens relies on our decision in Johnson v. De Grandy, 512 U. S. 997 (1994), which he reads to say that "a plaintiff cannot make out a prima facie case of vote dilution under 2 unless he can demonstrate that his proposed plan contains more majority-minority districts than the State's." Post, at 946 (citing De Grandy, supra, at 1008). The dissent's reading is flawed by its omission. In De Grandy, we presumed that the minority districts drawn in the State's plan were lawfully drawn and, indeed, we expressly stated that a vote-dilution claim under 2 "requires the possibility of creating more than the existing number of reasonably compact districts with a sufficiently large minority population to elect candidates of its choice." De Grandy, supra, at 1008 (emphasis added).

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