Ugly White Districts: What Should Sandy Do?
9 Pages Posted: 28 Jun 2004
A case recently decided by a three-judge panel in the Southern District of New York, Rodriguez v. Pataki, where plaintiffs challenge the 2002 New York State Senate redistricting plan, presents a new kind of redistricting dilemma. Rodriguez raises the issue of what to do about bizarrely-shaped white districts that are constructed or preserved using race as an obvious motivation - apparently in violation of Shaw v. Reno, 509 U.S. 630 (1993), which held ugly black districts to be violative of the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause - but are adjacent to majority-minority districts that must be preserved in accordance with both Sections 2 and 5 of the Voting Rights Act, the laws forbidding dilution and retrogression of majority-minority districts. Here, I ask what Justice Sandra Day O'Connor should do about unsightly majority white districts that are drawn principally to maintain white majorities, even if such districts also help fashion adjacent majority-minority districts required by the Voting Rights Act.
Keywords: redistricting, Shaw v. Reno, Justice O'Connor, Equal Protection
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation