HUNT v. CROMARTIE

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
99-1864
Appellee 
Cromartie
Appellant 
Hunt
Consolidation 
No. 99-1865
Advocates
(Argued the cause for the appellees)
(Argued the cause for the appellants in No. 99-1865)
(Argued the cause for the appellants in No. 99-1864)
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Facts of the Case 

In Shaw v. Hunt, the U.S Supreme Court found that North Carolina's legislature violated the Constitution by using race as the predominant factor in drawing its Twelfth Congressional District's 1992 boundaries. In 1997, after the State redrew those boundaries, the District Court found that the new boundaries had also been created with dominating racial considerations. In reversing, the Court found, in Hunt v. Cromartie, that the evidence was insufficient to show an unconstitutional race-based objective. On remand, the District Court again found that North Carolina's legislature had used race driven criteria in drawing the 1997 boundaries based on the district's shape, its splitting of towns and counties, and its heavily African-American voting population. The court newly found that the legislature had drawn the boundaries to collect precincts with a high racial, rather than political, identification. (Argued and decided with 99-1865, Smallwood v. Cromartie.)

Question 

Did a district court err in finding that North Carolina violated the Equal Protection Clause in its 1997 redrawing of its Twelfth Congressional District's 1992 boundaries?

Conclusion 
Decision: 5 votes for Hunt, 4 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Equal Protection

Yes. In a 5-4 opinion delivered by Justice Stephen G. Breyer, the Court held that the District Court's conclusion that the state violated the Equal Protection Clause in drawing the 1997 boundaries is based on clearly erroneous findings. Justice Breyer wore for the Court that "the primary evidence upon which the District Court relied for its 'race, not politics,' conclusion is evidence of voting registration, not voting behavior; and that is precisely the kind of evidence that we said was inadequate the last time this case was before us." Justice Clarence Thomas's dissented, joined by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justices Antonin Scalia and Anthony M. Kennedy.

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HUNT v. CROMARTIE. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 17 November 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2000/2000_99_1864>.
HUNT v. CROMARTIE, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2000/2000_99_1864 (last visited November 17, 2014).
"HUNT v. CROMARTIE," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed November 17, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2000/2000_99_1864.