Jack Pritchard

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In United States v. Hays, the United States Supreme Court addressed the issue of whether individuals who reside outside racially gerrymandered districts have standing to sue on racial gerrymandering claims. In May 1992, Louisiana passed Act 42 of its Regular Session, which redrew its district boundaries to form two majority-minority districts -Districts 4 and 2. District 4 was a "Z-shaped creature" that zigzagged through twenty-eight parishes and five major cities, yet the Act was precleared by the United States Attorney General. The plaintiffs, Hays et al., were residents of Lincoln Parish, which was located in the newly formed District 4, and brought suit to challenge Act 42 under state and federal constitutions as well as under the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The State removed the case to the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana. While the case was pending in the district court, the United States Supreme Court decided Shaw v. Reno, and the district court, following the Shaw rule, held Act 42 unconstitutional and enjoined its enforcement. Louisiana and the United States-intervening as a defendant-subsequently appealed to the United States Supreme Court. While the appeal was pending, the Louisiana Legislature repealed Act 42 and instituted Act 1 of the 1994 Second Extraordinary Session, which redrew District 4 to exclude Lincoln Parish.9 The Supreme Court vacated the district court's decision and remanded the case for further consideration in light of the new Act 1.10 The district court allowed the plaintiffs to amend their complaint to challenge Act 1 and held the Act unconstitutional for largely the same reasons as its decision regarding Act 42.11 The district court further enjoined Louisiana from conducting elections, substituted its own redistricting plan, and denied Louisiana's request for a stay of judgment pending appeal. 2 Louisiana and the United States again appealed to the Supreme Court, which stayed the judgment of the district court pending appeal."3 The Supreme Court held that the plaintiffs had no standing to sue, because

where a plaintiff does not live in [a racially gerrymandered] district, he or she does not suffer [the representational harms of racial classifications in the voting context], and any inference that the plaintiff has personally been subjected to a racial classification would not be justified absent specific evidence tending to support that inference.

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