Bush v. Vera, 517 U.S. 952, 82 (1996)

Page:   Index   Previous  75  76  77  78  79  80  81  82  83  84  85  86  87  88  89  Next

954

BUSH v. VERA

Syllabus

unconstitutional racial gerrymandering is inescapably corroborated by the evidence. Pp. 973-976. 3. Districts 18, 29, and 30 are not narrowly tailored to serve a compelling state interest. Pp. 976-983. (a) Creation of the three districts was not justified by a compelling state interest in complying with the "results" test of VRA 2(b). It may be assumed without deciding that such compliance can be a compelling state interest. See, e. g., Shaw v. Hunt, ante, at 915 (Shaw II). States attempting to comply with 2 retain discretion to apply traditional districting principles and are entitled to a limited degree of leeway. But a district drawn in order to satisfy 2 must not subordinate traditional districting principles to race substantially more than is reasonably necessary. The districts at issue fail this test, since all three are bizarrely shaped and far from compact, and those characteristics are predominantly attributable to gerrymandering that was racially motivated and/or achieved by the use of race as a proxy. Appellants Lawson et al. misinterpret Miller, supra, at 913, when they argue that bizarre shaping and noncompactness go only to motive and are irrelevant to the narrow tailoring inquiry. Also unavailing is the United States' contention that insofar as bizarreness and noncompactness are necessary to achieve the State's compelling interest in compliance with 2 while simultaneously achieving other legitimate redistricting goals, the narrow tailoring requirement is satisfied. The bizarre shaping and noncompactness of the districts in question were predominantly attributable to racial, not political, manipulation, while the Government's argument addresses the case of an otherwise compact majority-minority district that is misshapen by predominantly nonracial, political manipulation. Pp. 976-981. (b) The district lines at issue are not justified by a compelling state interest in ameliorating the effects of racially polarized voting attributable to Texas' long history of discrimination against minorities in electoral processes. Among the conditions that must be satisfied to render an interest in remedying discrimination compelling is the requirement that the discrimination be specific and "identified." Shaw II, ante, at 910. Here, the only current problem that appellants cite as in need of remediation is alleged vote dilution as a consequence of racial bloc voting, the same concern that underlies their VRA 2 compliance defense. Once the correct standard is applied, the fact that these districts are not narrowly tailored to comply with 2 forecloses this line of defense. Pp. 981-982. (c) Creation of District 18 (only) was not justified by a compelling state interest in complying with VRA 5, which seeks to prevent voting-procedure changes leading to a retrogression in the position of

Page:   Index   Previous  75  76  77  78  79  80  81  82  83  84  85  86  87  88  89  Next

Last modified: October 4, 2007