Opinion of the Court

of a second majority-black district, the court found, adding that if it had the court "would have included one since Georgia's legislature probably would have done so." Id., at 1567, n. 16. The resulting plan contained one majority-black district, the Fifth. The plan split no counties outside the Atlanta area. The District Court rejected potential objections to the plan based on $82 and 5 of the Voting Rights Act and the constitutional requirement of one person, one vote.


Given this background, appellants say, the District Court's plan violates our direction in Upham v. Seamon to take account of legislative preferences. In Upham, the District Court considered a reapportionment plan passed by the Texas Legislature. The Attorney General had objected under $5 of the Voting Rights Act to a specific part of the plan, namely, the lines drawn for two contiguous districts in south Texas. He had approved the other 25 districts. The trial court, required to draw new lines, redrew not just the two districts found objectionable and their neighbors but also some unrelated districts in Dallas County, hundreds of miles to the north. 456 U. S., at 38. In the absence of a finding that the legislature's reapportionment plan offended either the Constitution or the Voting Rights Act, we held, the District Court “was not free ... to disregard the political program” of the state legislature. Id., at 43. See also White v. Weiser, 412 U. S. 783, 797 (1973).

The instant action presents a quite different situation from Upham, and for several reasons. In the first place, the precleared plan is not owed Upham deference to the extent the plan subordinated traditional districting principles to racial considerations. Upham called on courts to correct—not follow-constitutional defects in districting plans. 456 U. S., at 43. In Miller, we found that when the Georgia Legislature yielded to the Justice Department's threats, it also adopted the Justice Department's entirely race-focused apOpinion of the Court

proach to redistricting—the max-black policy. 515 U. S., at 917–918. Using the precleared plan as the basis for a remedy would validate the very maneuvers that were a major cause of the unconstitutional districting.

Second, the constitutional violation here affects a large geographic area of the State; any remedy of necessity must affect almost every district. In Upham, only 2 contiguous districts out of 27 were in violation. Here, as the District Court pointed out, 2 of 11 districts were found unconstitutional, on opposite sides of the State, districts containing between them all or parts of nearly a third of Georgia's counties. 922 F. Supp., at 1561. Almost every major population center in Georgia was split along racial lines. Under the circumstances, the District Court was justified in making substantial changes to the existing plan consistent with Georgia's traditional districting principles, and considering race as a factor but not allowing it to predominate. This approach conforms to the rule explained in Upham.

Appellants' most specific objection under Upham is that the court's plan does not contain two majority-black districts. In particular, they point to the State's original 1991 redistricting plan, denied preclearance, which contained two majority-black districts. As we have suggested above, however, the State was subjected to steady Justice Department pressure to create the maximum number of majority-black districts, and there is considerable evidence the State was predominantly driven by this consideration even in developing its 1991 plan. In support of their position, appellants rely on broad assertions in the State's brief in this Court in Johnson v. Miller that the original plan “was not perceived as a 'racial gerrymander.'” Brief for Miller Appellants in Miller v. Johnson, 0. T. 1994, No. 94-631, p. 49. Against these assertions, appellees point to the testimony of Ms. Meggers, Director of Reapportionment Services for the Georgia General Assembly, that the second majority-black district was originally designed as a concession to the Justice

Opinion of the Court

Department's max-black policy. After being presented with a proposed map of the Eleventh District, “[t]he initial response in our office was that's ridiculous.” “It was said that it doesn't make any sense and I said maybe not, but ... we may get in trouble with the Justice Department if we don't draw [it] ... like that and I think that was ... the main reason" it was originally drawn. Tr. 431-432 (Oct. 30, 1995). Ms. Meggers referred to an “understanding” between the leadership in the legislature and the black caucus that a second majority-black district would be created. Id., at 431. The testimony of several legislators indicated that any such understanding was arrived at in the shadow of the Justice Department's max-black goal, and that all other policies were to give way to this racial consideration. Robert Hanner, chairman of the House Reapportionment Committee, so indicated in his testimony. Id., at 74–75. Sonny Dixon, a member of the House Reapportionment Committee, confirmed this account and said legislators felt pressure from the Justice Department in 1990 to create all possible majority-black districts. Id., at 81. Thomas Murphy, Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives in 1990 and now, said in his deposition that the initial 1991 reapportionment plan was based on “what we at least perceived to be the direction and instructions of the Justice Department.” Deposition of Thomas B. Murphy, Record 22–23; see also id., at 4, 6. This evidence all refers to development of the original 1991 legislative plan, not the 1992 precleared plan, and thus undermines the contention that the legislature's original plan should have been controlling on the District Court.

There is strong support, then, for finding the second majority-black district in Georgia's 1991 unprecleared plan resulted in substantial part from the Justice Departments policy of creating the maximum number of majority-black districts. It is not Justice Department interference per se that is the concern, but rather the fact that Justice Department pressure led the State to act based on an overriding

Opinion of the Court

concern with race. Given this background, it would have been most problematic for the trial court to insist on retaining a second majority-black district without regard to other, neutral districting factors. The trial court did not adopt this course. Instead, it gave careful consideration to creation of a second black district on grounds that a black voting population was one factor in drawing a district; and it concluded it could not draw the second majority-black district without allowing that one consideration to predominate over other traditional and neutral districting principles, principles which were a valid expression of legislative policy. There is ample basis in the record to support these conclusions. No other plan demonstrated a second majority-black district could be drawn while satisfying the constitutional requirement that race not predominate over traditional districting principles. The District Court said in its opinion that “[i]f Georgia had a concentrated minority population large enough to create a second majority-minority district without subverting traditional districting principles, the Court would have included one since Georgia's legislature probably would have done so.” 922 F. Supp., at 1567, n. 16. The statements of several witnesses support the trial court's independent conclusion it was not possible to do so. Ms. Meggers testified that, unless race was the predominant motive, a second majority-black district could not be drawn in Georgia. Tr. 434–435 (Oct. 30, 1995). Speaker Murphy doubted “very seriously” a second majority-black district could be drawn in Georgia without violating the principles we laid down in Miller. Deposition, Oct. 26, 1995, Record 24.

The court found the 1991 unprecleared plan shared many of the constitutional defects of the precleared plan. Among other things, it connected the south DeKalb County urban black population with the mainly rural east Georgian minority population. 922 F. Supp., at 1563, n. 9. Indeed, the Eleventh District in the 1991 plan in many respects was almost the geographical monstrosity it became in the pre

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cleared plan. The ACLU plans were introduced at the remedial hearing by Selwyn Carter, an employee of the Atlanta-based private Southern Regional Council whose job was to draw and advocate reapportionment plans across the South. Mr. Carter said his "basic goal” in preparing the plans was "[t]o show that it is possible to draw a plan in which African American voters comprise approximately 50 percent of the voting age population of a district and at the same time show that race was not a factor.” Tr. 296 (Oct. 30, 1995). The “least-change” plan, ACLU 1A, has numerous flaws. Besides its high population deviation, to be discussed, the Eleventh District has an iguana-like shape betraying the same invidious purpose we condemned in Miller. The only two plans close to the trial court's in terms of population deviation are Abrams A and the Justice Department's Illustrative Plan. Abrams A, with its three majority-black districts, splits nine counties in the Second District and three in the Eleventh, as well as numerous other counties in different parts of the State. The twisted shapes of its Second and Eleventh Districts again bear witness to racial motivation. The Illustrative Plan splits Bibb County—a county never before split in apportionment plans—to subsume Macon's black population. Although the Justice Department submitted the plan after the close of evidence, and in consequence its demographer could not be cross-examined on the question of racial motivation, the District Court recognized its apparent racial impetus. 922 F. Supp., at 1561, n. 4. Indeed, the Justice Department acknowledged a racial motivation at oral argument before the Court. Tr. of Oral Arg. 12, 16. The Justice Department also suggested it was proper to split Bibb County because the mayor and city council of Macon supported splitting the county and city into different districts. Id., at 13. Macon's alleged urge to be segregated for congressional districting purposes, however, cannot vitiate the equal protection rights of the Eleventh District's objecting voters.

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