Bush v. Vera, 517 U.S. 952, 86 (1996)

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Opinion of O'Connor, J.

stated in Hays that "[w]here a plaintiff resides in a racially gerrymandered district, . . . the plaintiff has been denied equal treatment because of the legislature's reliance on racial criteria, and therefore has standing to challenge the legislature's action." Ibid.; accord, Miller, supra, at 910-911. Under this rule, these plaintiffs have standing to challenge Districts 18, 29, and 30.


We must now determine whether those districts are subject to strict scrutiny. Our precedents have used a variety of formulations to describe the threshold for the application of strict scrutiny. Strict scrutiny applies where "redistricting legislation . . . is so extremely irregular on its face that it rationally can be viewed only as an effort to segregate the races for purposes of voting, without regard for traditional districting principles," Shaw I, supra, at 642, or where "race for its own sake, and not other districting principles, was the legislature's dominant and controlling rationale in drawing its district lines," Miller, 515 U. S., at 913, and "the legislature subordinated traditional race-neutral districting principles . . . to racial considerations," id., at 916. See also id., at 928 (O'Connor, J., concurring) (strict scrutiny only applies where "the State has relied on race in substantial disregard of customary and traditional districting practices").

Strict scrutiny does not apply merely because redistricting is performed with consciousness of race. See Shaw I, supra, at 646. Nor does it apply to all cases of intentional creation of majority-minority districts. See DeWitt v. Wilson, 856 F. Supp. 1409 (ED Cal. 1994) (strict scrutiny did not apply to an intentionally created compact majority-minority district), summarily aff'd, 515 U. S. 1170 (1995); cf. Shaw I, supra, at 649 (reserving this question). Electoral district lines are "facially race neutral," so a more searching inquiry is necessary before strict scrutiny can be found applicable in redistricting cases than in cases of "classifications based explicitly on race." See Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Peña, 515 U. S.

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