Georgia v. Ashcroft, 539 U.S. 461, 5 (2003)

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Cite as: 539 U. S. 461 (2003)

Opinion of the Court

Justice Department should be vigilant in ensuring that States neither reduce minority voters' effective exercise of the electoral franchise nor discriminate against them, the Voting Rights Act, as properly interpreted, should encourage the transition to a society where race no longer matters. Pp. 485-491.

(d) The District Court is in a better position to reweigh all the facts in the record in the first instance in light of this Court's explication of retrogression. P. 491.

195 F. Supp. 2d 25, vacated and remanded.

O'Connor, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Rehnquist, C. J., and Scalia, Kennedy, and Thomas, JJ., joined. Kennedy, J., post, p. 491, and Thomas, J., post, p. 492, filed concurring opinions. Souter, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Stevens, Ginsburg, and Breyer, JJ., joined, post, p. 492.

David F. Walbert argued the cause for appellant. With him on the briefs were Thurbert E. Baker, Attorney General of Georgia, Dennis R. Dunn, Deputy Attorney General, and Mark H. Cohen.

Malcolm L. Stewart argued the cause for the federal appellees. With him on the brief were Solicitor General Olson, Assistant Attorney General Boyd, Deputy Solicitor General Clement, and Mark L. Gross.

E. Marshall Braden argued the cause for appellee intervenors. With him on the brief were Amy M. Henson, Frank B. Strickland, and Anne W. Lewis.*

Justice O'Connor delivered the opinion of the Court.

In this case, we decide whether Georgia's State Senate redistricting plan should have been precleared under 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, 79 Stat. 439, as renumbered and amended, 42 U. S. C. 1973c. Section 5 requires that before a covered jurisdiction's new voting "standard, prac*A brief of amicus curiae urging affirmance was filed for the Georgia Coalition for the Peoples' Agenda by Laughlin McDonald, Neil Bradley, Barbara R. Arnwine, Thomas J. Henderson, Anita Hodgkiss, Elaine R. Jones, Norman J. Chachkin, and Todd A. Cox.


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