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Shaw v. Reno [Shaw I]

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Bloomberg Law

Citation. 509 U.S. 630, 113 S. Ct. 2816, 125 L. Ed. 2d 511, 1993 U.S.

Brief Fact Summary. The Supreme Court of the United States (Supreme Court) held that the Appellants, Shaw and others (Appellants), have a legitimate claim that North Carolina’s redistricting scheme was so irregular on its face that it could only be viewed as an effort to segregate races for the purposes of voting, without regard for traditional districting principles and without sufficiently compelling justification.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. The deliberate segregation of voters into separate districts on the basis of race violates their constitutional right to participate in a “color-blind” electoral process.


Facts. As a result of the 1990 census, North Carolina became entitled to a twelfth seat in the United States House of Representatives. The North Carolina General Assembly (General Assembly) enacted a reapportionment plan that included one majority-black congressional district. After the Attorney General of the United States objected to the plan pursuant to Section:5 of the Voting Rights Act, the General Assembly passed new legislation creating a second majority-black district. The Appellants allege that the revised plan, which contains district boundary lines of dramatically irregular shape, constitutes an unconstitutional gerrymander.

Issue. Whether the Appellants have stated an equal protection claim by alleging that the General Assembly adopted a reapportionment plan so irrational on its face that it can only be viewed as an effort to segregate races for the purposes of voting, without regard for traditional districting principles and without sufficiently compelling justification?

Content Type: Brief


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