Shaw v. Hunt, 517 U.S. 899, 21 (1996)

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

Stevens, J., dissenting

of Chicago, 466 F. 2d 830, 852 (CA7 1972) (Stevens, J., dissenting). But even if we accept the Court's refusal to recognize any distinction between two vastly different kinds of situations, we should affirm the judgment of the District Court in this case.

As the Court analyzes the case, it raises three distinct questions: (1) Should North Carolina's decision to create two congressional districts in which a majority of the voters are African-American be subject to strict constitutional scrutiny?; (2) If so, did North Carolina have a compelling interest in creating such districts?; and (3) If so, was the creation of those districts "narrowly tailored" to further the asserted compelling interest? The Court inadequately explains its answer to the first question, and it avoids answering the second because it concludes that its answer to the third disposes of the case. In my estimation, the Court's disposition of all three questions is most unsatisfactory.

After commenting on the majority's treatment of the threshold jurisdictional issue, I shall discuss separately the three questions outlined above. In doing so, I do not mean to imply that I endorse the majority's effort to apply in rigid fashion the strict scrutiny analysis developed for cases of a far different type. I mean only to show that, even on its own terms, the majority's analysis fails to convince.


I have explained previously why I believe that the Court has failed to supply a coherent theory of standing to justify its emerging and misguided race-based districting jurisprudence. See Miller v. Johnson, 515 U. S., at 929-931 (Stevens, J., dissenting); United States v. Hays, 515 U. S. 737, 750-751 (1995) (Stevens, J., concurring in judgment). The Court's analysis of the standing question in this case is similarly unsatisfactory, and, in my view, reflects the fact that the so-called Shaw claim seeks to employ the federal courts to impose a particular form of electoral process,


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