Georgia v. Ashcroft, 539 U.S. 461, 26 (2003)

Page:   Index   Previous  19  20  21  22  23  24  25  26  27  28  29  30  31  32  33  Next



Opinion of the Court

minority districts to elect a candidate of their choice. In doing so, it paid inadequate attention to the support of legislators representing the benchmark majority-minority districts and the maintenance of the legislative influence of those representatives.

The District Court correctly recognized that the increase in districts with a substantial minority of black voters is an important factor in the retrogression inquiry. See 195 F. Supp. 2d, at 75-78. Nevertheless, it did not adequately apply this consideration to the facts of this case. The District Court ignored the evidence of numerous other districts showing an increase in black voting age population, as well as the other evidence that Georgia decided that a way to increase black voting strength was to adopt a plan that "un-packed" the high concentration of minority voters in the majority-minority districts. Its statement that Georgia did not "presen[t] evidence regarding potential gains in minority voting strength in Senate Districts other than Districts 2, 12 and 26" is therefore clearly erroneous. Id., at 94. Like the dissent, we accept the District Court's findings that the reductions in black voting age population in proposed Districts 2, 12, and 26 to just over 50% make it marginally less likely that minority voters can elect a candidate of their choice in those districts, although we note that Georgia introduced evidence showing that approximately one-third of white voters would support a black candidate in those districts, see id., at 66, and that the United States' own expert admitted that the results of statewide elections in Georgia show that "there would be a 'very good chance' that . . . African American candidates would win election in the reconstituted districts." Id., at 71; see also id., at 84-85. Nevertheless, regardless of any racially polarized voting or diminished opportunity for black voters to elect a candidate of their choice in proposed Districts 2, 12, and 26, the District Court's inquiry was too narrow.

Page:   Index   Previous  19  20  21  22  23  24  25  26  27  28  29  30  31  32  33  Next

Last modified: October 4, 2007