Supreme Court of the United States
Decided June 29, 1995
Justice O’Connor, Concurring
Miller v. Johnson, 515 U.S. 900 (1995), was a United States Supreme Court case concerning "affirmative gerrymandering/racial gerrymandering", where racial minority-majority electoral districts are created during redistricting to increase minority Congressional representation.
|Topic: Civil Rights*||Court vote: 5–4|
|Note: No other Justices joined this opinion.|
|Holding: “Georgia's congressional redistricting plan violates the Equal Protection Clause.”|
|Citation: 515 U.S. 900||Docket: 94–631||Audio: Listen to this case's oral arguments at Oyez|
* As categorized by the Washington University Law Supreme Court Database
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JUSTICE O'CONNOR, concurring.
I understand the threshold standard the Court adoptsthat "the legislature subordinated traditional race-neutral districting principles... to racial considerations," ante, at 916-to be a demanding one. To invoke strict scrutiny, a plaintiff must show that the State has relied on race in substantial disregard of customary and traditional districting practices. Those practices provide a crucial frame of reference and therefore constitute a significant governing principle in cases of this kind. The standard would be no different if a legislature had drawn the boundaries to favor some other ethnic group; certainly the standard does not treat efforts to create majority-minority districts less favorably than similar efforts on behalf of other groups. Indeed, the driving force behind the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment was the desire to end legal discrimination against blacks.
Application of the Court's standard does not throw into doubt the vast majority of the Nation's 435 congressional districts, where presumably the States have drawn the boundaries in accordance with their customary districting principles. That is so even though race may well have been
Georgia Congressional Districts (1992)
People Per Square Mile D Oto 10
D 10to 100
1,000 to 10,000
• 10,000 to 100,000
100,000 to 1,000,000
Population Density Map
11th Congressional District of Georgia
considered in the redistricting process. See Shaw v. Reno, 509 U. S. 630, 646 (1993); ante, at 916. But application of the Court's standard helps achieve Shaw's basic objective of making extreme instances of gerrymandering subject to meaningful judicial review. I therefore join the Court's opinion.
100 to 1,000
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