Georgia v. Ashcroft, 539 U.S. 461, 17 (2003)

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

Opinion of the Court

reviewable. See id., at 504-505. But Morris concerned the administrative preclearance process, not the judicial pre-clearance process. Morris itself recognized the difference between administrative preclearance and judicial preclearance. See id., at 503-507.

Here, the District Court granted the motion to intervene because it found that the intervenors' "analysis of the . . . Senate redistricting pla[n] identifies interests that are not adequately represented by the existing parties." App. to Juris. Statement 218a. Private parties may intervene in 5 actions assuming they meet the requirements of Rule 24, and the District Court did not abuse its discretion in granting the motion to intervene in this case. See NAACP v. New York, supra, at 367.

III

A

Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act "has a limited substantive goal: " 'to insure that no voting-procedure changes would be made that would lead to a retrogression in the position of racial minorities with respect to their effective exercise of the electoral franchise.' " Miller, 515 U. S., at 926 (quoting Beer v. United States, 425 U. S., [at 141])." Bush v. Vera, 517 U. S. 952, 982-983 (1996). Thus, a plan that merely preserves "current minority voting strength" is entitled to 5 preclearance. City of Lockhart v. United States, 460 U. S. 125, 134, n. 10 (1983); Bush v. Vera, supra, at 983. Indeed, a voting change with a discriminatory but nonretrogressive purpose or effect does not violate 5. See Reno v. Bossier Parish School Bd., 528 U. S. 320, 341 (2000). And "no matter how unconstitutional it may be," a plan that is not retrogressive should be precleared under 5. Id., at 336. "[P]reclearance under 5 affirms nothing but the absence of backsliding." Id., at 335.

Georgia argues that a plan should be precleared under 5 if the plan would satisfy 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965,

477

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