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Miller v. Johnson

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Miller v. Johnson
Argued April 19, 1995
Decided June 29, 1995
Full case nameZell Miller v. Davida Johnson
Citations515 U.S. 900 (more)
115 S. Ct. 2475; 132 L. Ed. 2d 762; 1995 U.S. LEXIS 4462
Case history
PriorOn appeal from U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia. Together with No. 94-797, Abrams et al. v. Johnson et al., and No. 94-929, United States v. Johnson et al., also on appeal from the same court.
Questions presented
Is racial gerrymandering of the congressional redistricting process a violation of the Equal Protection Clause?
Georgia's congressional redistricting plan violates the Equal Protection Clause.
Court membership
Chief Justice
William Rehnquist
Associate Justices
John P. Stevens · Sandra Day O'Connor
Antonin Scalia · Anthony Kennedy
David Souter · Clarence Thomas
Ruth Bader Ginsburg · Stephen Breyer
Case opinions
MajorityKennedy, joined by Rehnquist, O'Connor, Scalia, Thomas
DissentGinsburg, joined by Stevens, Breyer, Souter (except as to Part III-B)
Laws applied
U.S. Const. amend. XIV

Miller v. Johnson, 515 U.S. 900 (1995), was a United States Supreme Court case concerning "affirmative gerrymandering/racial gerrymandering", where racial minority-majority electoral districts are created during redistricting to increase minority Congressional representation.


Only one of Georgia's ten congressional districts was primarily African American between 1980 and 1990. According to the 1990 census, Georgia's increase in population entitled the state to an eleventh congressional seat. That prompted Georgia's General Assembly to re-draw the state's congressional districts. After the Justice Department denied several of the Assembly's proposed new districts, as the state's population was 27% African-American, but formed a majority in only one of the now 11 districts, the Assembly drew the 11th district to create a second majority-black district. However the district lacked any sort of organic structure, and was deemed a "geographic monstrosity" because it extended approximately 260 square miles from Atlanta to the Atlantic Ocean. The case was brought to court by white voters in the Eleventh Congressional District of the state of Georgia.

Question before the Supreme Court[edit]

Is racial gerrymandering of the congressional redistricting process a violation of the Equal Protection Clause?

Decision of the Court[edit]

Justice Kennedy wrote the majority opinion for the Court. Ruling against the district, the Court declared the district unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, according to the interpretation in Shaw v. Reno (1993). The court noted that in some instances, "a reapportionment plan may be so highly irregular and bizarre in shape that it rationally cannot be understood as anything other than an effort to segregate voters based on race." Citing Shaw v. Reno, the majority concluded that strict scrutiny is required whenever race is the "overriding, predominant force" in the redistricting process. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor wrote a concurrence, while Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote a dissent joined by Justices John Paul Stevens, Stephen G. Breyer, and David H. Souter. Stevens wrote an additional, separate dissent joined by no other justice.[1][2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Miller v. Johnson – 515 U.S. 900 (1995)". The Oyez Project: Chicago-Kent College of Law. Retrieved October 11, 2013.
  2. ^ "Miller v. Johnson – 515 U.S. 900 (1995)". Justia. Retrieved October 11, 2013.

External links[edit]

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