Bush v. Vera, 517 U.S. 952, 97 (1996)

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Cite as: 517 U. S. 952 (1996)

Opinion of O'Connor, J.

political participation in our efforts to eliminate unjustified racial stereotyping by government actors.

Here, the District Court had ample bases on which to conclude both that racially motivated gerrymandering had a qualitatively greater influence on the drawing of district lines than politically motivated gerrymandering, and that political gerrymandering was accomplished in large part by the use of race as a proxy. The State's own VRA 5 submission explains the drawing of District 30, and the rejection of Johnson's more compact plan, in exclusively racial terms:

"Throughout the course of the Congressional redistricting process, the lines of the proposed District 30 were constantly reconfigured in an attempt to maximize the voting strength for this black community in Dallas County . . . While the legislature was in agreement that a safe black district should be drawn in the Dallas County area, the real dispute involved the composition, configuration and quality of that district. The community insisted that [a] 'safe' black district be drawn that had a total black population of at least 50%. . . . ". . . Although some [alternative] proposals showed a more compact configuration, none of them reached the threshold 50% total black population which the community felt was necessary to assure its ability to elect its own Congressional representative without having to form coalitions with other minority groups. . . . ". . . The goal was to not only create a district that would maximize the opportunity for the black community to elect a Congressional candidate of its choice in 1992, but also one that included some of the major black growth areas which will assure continued electoral and economic opportunities over the next decades." App. 106-107.

As the District Court noted, testimony of state officials in earlier litigation (in which District 30 was challenged as a political gerrymander) contradicted part of their testimony


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