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League of United Latin Am. Citizens v. Perry - 548 U.S. 399, 126 S. Ct. 2594 (2006)

Rule:

The United States Supreme Court has identified three threshold conditions for establishing a violation of § 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, 42 U.S.C.S. § 1973: (1) a racial group is sufficiently large and geographically compact to constitute a majority in a single-member district; (2) the racial group is politically cohesive; and (3) the majority votes sufficiently as a bloc to enable it usually to defeat the minority's preferred candidate. These are the so-called Gingles requirements. If all three Gingles requirements are established, the statutory text directs a court to consider the "totality of circumstances" to determine whether members of a racial group have less opportunity than do other members of the electorate.

Facts:

Following the 2000 census, a court-ordered redistricting plan was implemented in Texas for seats in the United States House of Representatives. In 2003, after Republicans gained control of the Texas Legislature, a new redistricting map was passed. Appellants argued that the mid-decade redistricting was an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander and that changes to particular districts violated the Voting Rights Act, the First Amendment, and the Equal Protection Clause

Issue:

Did the state redistricting plan violate § 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, 42 U.S.C.S. § 1973?

Answer:

Yes

Conclusion:

The Court rejected appellants' challenge to the plan as a whole, but did not reach agreement as to whether a reliable test for gerrymandering might exist. However, changes to a Latino-majority district, which were designed to protect an incumbent, constituted vote dilution in violation of 42 U.S.C.S. § 1973(b). Creation of a new, noncompact Latino-majority district did not compensate for the dismantling of the former compact district, and the absence of the former district undermined the progress of a racial group that had been subject to significant voting-related discrimination. The Court upheld the district court's decision that changes to another district did not unlawfully dilute African-American voting strength.

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