GEORGIA v. ASHCROFT

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
02-182
Appellee 
Ashcroft
Appellant 
Georgia
Advocates
(Argued the cause for the private intervenors)
(Department of Justice, argued the cause for the federal repondent)
(Argued the cause for the petitioner)
Tags
Term:
Facts of the Case 

Following the 2000 Census, the Democratic-controlled Georgia legislature passed a redistricting plan that was backed by many black leaders because it would have spread black voters and influence across several districts rather than concentrating them in a select few. Georgia's Republican governor objected to the plan because he said it violated the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which discourages the dilution of minority voting strength. The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia rejected the legislature's plan.

Question 

Did the redistricting plan violate the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by spreading minority voters across several districts rather than concentrating them in a few heavily minority ones?

Conclusion 
Decision: 5 votes for Georgia, 4 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Voting Rights Act of 1965

No. In a 5-4 opinion delivered by Justice O'Connor, the Court held that the District Court failed to consider all the relevant factors when it examined whether Georgia's Senate plan resulted in a retrogression of black voters' effective exercise of the electoral franchise. The Court reasoned that Georgia likely met its burden of showing nonretrogression under section 5 of the Voting Rights Act because the District Court focused too narrowly on certain districts without examining the increases in the black voting age population that occurred in many of the other districts and improperly rejected evidence that the legislators representing the benchmark majority-minority districts support the plan. In his dissent, Justice David H. Souter argued that Georgia had failed to carry its burden.

Cite this Page
GEORGIA v. ASHCROFT. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 20 October 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2002/2002_02_182>.
GEORGIA v. ASHCROFT, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2002/2002_02_182 (last visited October 20, 2014).
"GEORGIA v. ASHCROFT," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed October 20, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2002/2002_02_182.