Bush v. Vera, 517 U.S. 952, 99 (1996)

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

Opinion of O'Connor, J.

F. Supp., at 1339, suggests that racial criteria predominated over other districting criteria in determining the district's boundaries. And, despite the strong correlation between race and political affiliation, the maps reveal that political considerations were subordinated to racial classification in the drawing of many of the most extreme and bizarre district lines. For example, the northernmost hook of the district, where it ventures into Collin County, is tailored perfectly to maximize minority population, see App. 153 (all whole and parts of 1992 voter tabulation districts within District 30's Collin County hook have a combined African-American and Hispanic population in excess of 50%, with an average African-American population of 19.8%, id., at 331, while the combined African-American and Hispanic population in all surrounding voter tabulation districts, and the other parts of split districts, in Collin County is less than 25%), whereas it is far from the shape that would be necessary to maximize the Democratic vote in that area, see id., at 196 (showing a Republican majority, based on 1990 voting patterns in seven of the eight 1990 voter tabulation districts wholly or partly included in District 30 in Collin County).*

*In the application of our precedents to District 30, our disagreement with Justice Stevens' dissent, post, at 1014-1031, is largely factual. In reviewing the District Court's findings of primary fact, we cannot ignore the reality that the District Court heard several days of testimony and argument and became significantly more familiar with the factual details of this suit than this Court can be. We therefore believe that the dissent errs in second-guessing the District Court's assessment of the witnesses' testimony, see post, at 1025, n. 24, and in dismissing as mere "fine tuning," post, at 1030, the practice of using race as a proxy that the District Court found, based on ample evidence, to be pervasive, see Vera v. Richards, 861 F. Supp 1304, 1322 (SD Tex. 1994).

For the same reason, we decline to debate the dissent on every factual

nuance on which it diverges from the District Court's, and our, view. But two of its specific claims about District 30 merit a response. First, the dissent asserts that "[a] comparison of the 1992 precinct results with a depiction of the proportion of black population in each census block reveals that Democratic-leaning precincts cover a far greater area [of District 30]


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