Not "Wrongful" by Any Means: The Court's Decisions in the Redistricting Cases


Carol M. Swain

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Houston Law Review

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Minority representation itself should be viewed by the voting rights community as something much broader than the representation that takes place when voters and legislators share skin pigmentation. The Supreme Court and the Justice Department have never stated that representation requires that politicians share the same skin color as the district majority. Instead, the Court has spoken of enhancing the ability of minorities to impact public policies by electing candidates of their choice. When representation is defined more broadly than shared race, then there is evidence to suggest that political party or, more specifically, whether a Democrat is in office, is as important as the race of the representative. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that this is more important. Given the way minorities define their policy preferences, their substantive interests are best served by the election of more Democrats.3 7 In short, minorities are in a win-win situation when they are positioned to influence more legislators than the handful they can elect when packed in oversized majority-minority districts. Their ability to influence more legislators has been enhanced by the Court's decisions in the redistricting cases. Put simply, the Court's redistricting decisions have not been wrongly decided.

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