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Opinion of the Court

cluded maintaining core districts and communities of interest. Georgia has an unusually high number of counties: 159, the greatest number of any State in the Union apart from the much-larger Texas. These small counties represent communities of interest to a much greater degree than is common, and we agree with the District Court that “such a proliferation" provides "ample building blocks for acceptable voting districts without chopping any of those blocks in half.” 864 F. Supp., at 1377.

In any case, even if we had found the court plan's population deviation unacceptable, the solution would not be adoption of the constitutionally infirm, because race-based, plans of appellants. Indeed, before this Court at oral argument private appellants acknowledged the remedy for any oneperson, one-vote violation would not be creation of a second majority-black district. Tr. of Oral Arg. 28–29. Rather, we would require some very minor changes in the court's plana few shiftings of precincts—to even out districts with the greatest deviations.

That exercise, however, and appellant's objections to the court plan's slight population deviations, are increasingly futile. We are now more than six years from the last census, on which appellants' data is based. The difference between the court plan's average deviation (0.11%) and the Illustrative Plan's (0.07%) is 0.04%, which represents 328 people out of a perfect district population of 588,928. The population of Georgia has not stood still. Georgia is one of the fastestgrowing States, and continues to undergo population shifts and changes. U. S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of Census, Statistical Abstract of the United States 29 (1996) (Table 28) (showing Georgia tied for seventh place among the States in percentage of population growth from 1990 to 1995, with 11.2% growth). In light of these changes, the tinkerings appellants propose would not reflect Georgia's true population distribution in any event. The Karcher Court, in explaining the absolute equality standard, acknowledged that "census

Opinion of the Court

data are not perfect,” and that “population counts for particular localities are outdated long before they are completed.” 462 U. S., at 732. Karcher was written only two years from the previous census, however, and we are now more than six years from one. The magnitude of population shifts since the census is far greater here than was likely to be so in Karcher. These equitable considerations disfavor requiring yet another reapportionment to correct the deviation.

V

The task of redistricting is best left to state legislatures, elected by the people and as capable as the courts, if not more so, in balancing the myriad factors and traditions in legitimate districting policies. Here, the legislative process was first distorted and then unable to reach a solution. The District Court was left to embark on a delicate task with limited legislative guidance. The court was careful to take into account traditional state districting factors, and it remained sensitive to the constitutional requirement of equal protection of the laws.

The judgment of the District Court is affirmed.

It is so ordered.

[Appendix to opinion of the Court follows this page.]

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