Shaw v. Reno: Race and Redistricting (1993)

Shaw v. Reno was a landmark case decided by the United States Supreme Court in 1993. The case challenged the constitutionality of North Carolina's congressional redistricting plan, which had been drawn to create a majority-minority district with the specific aim of electing a Black representative. The plaintiffs argued that the redistricting plan was a form of racial gerrymandering that violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. In a 5-4 decision, the Court held that the North Carolina plan was unconstitutional because race had been the predominant factor in drawing the district boundaries. The decision established the legal precedent that race-based redistricting must be subject to strict scrutiny and that redistricting plans must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to determine whether they constitute unlawful racial gerrymandering. The case has continued to shape debates over the role of race in electoral politics and has influenced subsequent redistricting efforts in the United States.


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