Bush v. Vera, 517 U.S. 952, 80 (1996)

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BUSH, GOVERNOR OF TEXAS, et al. v. VERA et al.

appeal from the district court for the southern district of texas

No. 94-805. Argued December 5, 1995—Decided June 13, 1996*

Because the 1990 census revealed a population increase entitling Texas to three additional congressional seats, and in an attempt to comply with the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA), the Texas Legislature promulgated a redistricting plan that, among other things, created District 30 as a new majority-African-American district in Dallas County and District 29 as a new majority-Hispanic district in Harris County, and reconfigured District 18, which is adjacent to District 29, as a majority-African-American district. After the Department of Justice precleared the plan under VRA 5, the plaintiffs, six Texas voters, filed this challenge alleging that 24 of the State's 30 congressional districts constitute racial gerrymanders in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. The three-judge District Court held Districts 18, 29, and 30 unconstitutional. The Governor of Texas, private intervenors, and the United States (as intervenor) appeal.

Held: The judgment is affirmed. 861 F. Supp. 1304, affirmed.

Justice O'Connor, joined by The Chief Justice and Justice

Kennedy, concluded: 1. Plaintiff Chen, who resides in District 25 and has not alleged any specific facts showing that he personally has been subjected to any racial classification, lacks standing under United States v. Hays, 515 U. S. 737, 744-745. But plaintiffs Blum and Powers, who reside in District 18, plaintiffs Thomas and Vera, who reside in District 29, and plaintiff Orcutt, who resides in District 30, have standing to challenge Districts 18, 29, and 30. See, e. g., ibid. Pp. 957-958. 2. Districts 18, 29, and 30 are subject to strict scrutiny under this Court's precedents. Pp. 958-976. (a) Strict scrutiny applies where race was "the predominant factor" motivating the drawing of district lines, see, e. g., Miller v. Johnson, 515 U. S. 900, 916 (emphasis added), and traditional, race-neutral districting principles were subordinated to race, see ibid. This is a mixed motive suit, and a careful review is therefore necessary to

*Together with No. 94-806, Lawson et al. v. Vera et al., and No. 94-988, United States v. Vera et al., also on appeal from the same court.

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