States that prevented African Americans from registering to vote or running for office, in addition to other infractions, were singled out by Section 4.
The court's answer in Bethune-Hill and Cooper is that there is a low bar for plaintiffs to show racial predominance, but an even lower bar for surviving strict scrutiny.
"The context in which the committee has called for General Flynn's testimonial production of documents makes clear that he has more than a reasonable apprehension that any testimony he provides could be used against him", the attorneys wrote in the letter, which was obtained by the AP.
"Regardless of the outcome of the current legal disputes, North Carolina needs a new process for drawing its election maps", said Mitch Kokai, senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation.
Race can be considered in redrawing boundaries of voting districts only in certain instances, such as when states are seeking to comply with the federal Voting Rights Act. The ruling appears to upend Texas' key argument as it heads back to court over the state's congressional maps.
The court's decision was also welcomed by Democrats, who felt that the legislature's redistricting efforts were systemically unfair to Black voters. They found that this was another example of the excessive use of race in redistricting.
This court ruling is more, and significant, evidence of that. There are, roughly, two types of gerrymandering that come before the court: Gerrymandering by political party, and gerrymandering by race.
"W$3 e uphold the District Court's finding of racial predominance respecting District 12", Kagan wrote. The court said that amounted to an unconstitutional racial gerrymander. Because Harris also failed to produce an alternative map, Alito said he should have lost this case.
Kagan's majority opinion found that the state unconstitutionally used race in drawing the map for CD1.
This result is important for three reasons. The Supreme Court affirmed that ruling. But the court pointed out that black candidates have been winning that district for years with substantial support from white voters, so a majority-black district wasn't needed.
Both districts are held by Democrats. Similarly, in Cooper, the court held that a court may find racial predominance even if the plaintiffs can not propose a competing plan that provides greater racial balance. He agreed that the court had correctly deferred to the lower court's plausible interpretation of the evidence.
Second, in rejecting the competing-plan test, the court rejected one of the best ways to distinguish districting plans that warrant judicial intervention from those that do not. Is it politics or is it race? Not so in Washington, where a bipartisan commission is tasked with determining the outlay of districts. Easley cemented the notion that states may gerrymander along partisan lines, even where race and political affiliation are intertwined.
In the coming months, the court is expected to weigh in on a case from Wisconsin involving partisan, not racial, gerrymandering. That law protects minority voters and was enacted to address a history of racial discrimination in voting, especially in Southern states.
Just last month, civil rights groups filed a lawsuit challenging Georgia house districts drawn in 2015.
The split among the justices was over the 12th district.
African-American and Democratic critics accused Republicans of drawing districts to contain more African Americans than necessary to keep surrounding districts more white and more Republican. I don't know if this is good decision for voters, but it is definitely a good decision for redistricting lawyers.