Shaw v. Hunt, 517 U.S. 899, 23 (1996)

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

Stevens, J., dissenting

ties, will seek to obtain judicially what they could not obtain electorally.

Even if the other plaintiffs to this litigation do object to the use of race in the districting process for reasons other than partisan political advantage, the majority fails to explain adequately the nature of their constitutional challenge, or why it should be cognizable under the Equal Protection Clause. Not surprisingly, therefore, the majority's explanation of why these plaintiffs have standing to bring this challenge is unconvincing.

It is important to point out what these plaintiffs do not claim. Counsel for appellees put the matter succinctly when he stated that this case is not Gomillion v. Lightfoot, 364 U. S. 339 (1960).1 There, the plaintiffs had been prohibited from voting in municipal elections; here, all voters remain free to select representatives to Congress. Thus, while the plaintiffs purport to be challenging an unconstitutional racial gerrymander, they do not claim that they have been shut out of the electoral process on account of race, or that their voting power has been diluted as a consequence of race-based districting. Shaw I, 509 U. S., at 641.

What then is the wrong that these plaintiffs have suffered that entitles them to call upon a federal court for redress? In Shaw I, the majority construed the plaintiffs' claim to be that the Equal Protection Clause forbids race-based districting designed solely to "separate" voters by race, and that North Carolina's districting process violated the prohibition. Ibid. Even if that were the claim before us, these plaintiffs should not have standing to bring it. The record shows that North Carolina's districting plan served to require these plaintiffs to share a district with voters of a different race. Thus, the injury that these plaintiffs have suffered, to the extent that there has been injury at all, stems

1 Tr. of Oral Arg. 58.


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