Bush v. Vera, 517 U.S. 952, 100 (1996)

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Opinion of O'Connor, J.

The combination of these factors compels us to agree with the District Court that "the contours of Congressional District 30 are unexplainable in terms other than race." 861 F. Supp., at 1339. It is true that District 30 does not evince a consistent, single-minded effort to "segregate" voters on the basis of race, post, at 1023 (Stevens, J., dissenting), and does not represent "apartheid," post, at 1054, 1074 (Souter, J., dissenting). But the fact that racial data were used in complex ways, and for multiple objectives, does not mean that race did not predominate over other considerations. The record discloses intensive and pervasive use of race both

than majority-black census blocks." Post, at 1030 (emphasis added). While that may be true, the dissent's reliance on 1992 election results is misplaced. Those results were not before the legislature when it drew the district lines in 1991, and may well reflect the popularity and campaign success of Representative Johnson more than the party political predispositions of the district's residents. (The same error infects the dissent's discussion of the Collin County hook, post, at 1020-1021, n. 19 (relying on 1992 election results).) And looking at totals, rather than at the difference between areas just inside and just outside the district lines, is misleading: Race may predominate in the drawing of district lines because those lines are finely drawn to maximize the minority composition of the district, notwithstanding that in an overwhelmingly Democratic area, the total of Democrats in the district far exceeds its total minority population.

Second, the dissent suggests that strict scrutiny should not apply because District 30's compact core has a higher African-American population percentage than its wayward tentacles. Post, at 1021-1023. In doing so, it again ignores the necessity of determining whether race predominated in the redistricters' actions in light of what they had to work with. Once various adjacent majority-minority populations had been carved away from it by the use of race as a proxy to enhance the electoral chances of neighboring incumbents, the core of District 30 was substantially too small to form an entire district. The principal question faced by the redistricters was, therefore, what territory to add to the core out of the remainder of the Dallas area, which remainder has an average African-American population substantially below the 21% county average. In answering that question, as the District Court explained and the maps bear witness, the redistricters created bizarre, far-reaching tentacles that intricately and consistently maximize the available remaining African-American population.

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