New paper on racial gerrymandering claims

Ethan Leib has posted on SSRN Ugly White Districts: What Should Sandy Do?. Here is the abstract:

    A case just decided by a three-judge panel in the Southern District of New York, where plaintiffs challenge the 2002 New York State Senate redistricting plan, presents a new kind of redistricting challenge. See Rodriguez v. Pataki, 2004 WL 503748 (S.D.N.Y.). 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.

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