Georgia v. Ashcroft, 539 U.S. 461, 21 (2003)

Page:   Index   Previous  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21  22  23  24  25  26  27  28  Next

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

Opinion of the Court

majority-minority districts may virtually guarantee the election of a minority group's preferred candidate in those districts. Yet even if this concentration of minority voters in a few districts does not constitute the unlawful packing of minority voters, see Voinovich v. Quilter, 507 U. S. 146, 153- 154 (1993), such a plan risks isolating minority voters from the rest of the State, and risks narrowing political influence to only a fraction of political districts. Cf. Shaw v. Reno, 509 U. S., at 648-650. And while such districts may result in more "descriptive representation" because the representatives of choice are more likely to mirror the race of the majority of voters in that district, the representation may be limited to fewer areas. See H. Pitkin, The Concept of Representation 60-91 (1967).

On the other hand, spreading out minority voters over a greater number of districts creates more districts in which minority voters may have the opportunity to elect a candidate of their choice. Such a strategy has the potential to increase "substantive representation" in more districts, by creating coalitions of voters who together will help to achieve the electoral aspirations of the minority group. See id., at 114. It also, however, creates the risk that the minority group's preferred candidate may lose. Yet as we stated in Johnson v. De Grandy, supra, at 1020:

"[T]here are communities in which minority citizens are able to form coalitions with voters from other racial and ethnic groups, having no need to be a majority within a single district in order to elect candidates of their choice. Those candidates may not represent perfection to every minority voter, but minority voters are not immune from the obligation to pull, haul, and trade to find common political ground, the virtue of which is not to be slighted in applying a statute meant to hasten the waning of racism in American politics."


Page:   Index   Previous  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21  22  23  24  25  26  27  28  Next

Last modified: October 4, 2007