Court Strikes Down Democrats' Gerrymander Tactic

Monday, 09 Mar 2009 10:19 AM

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WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court has ruled that electoral districts must have a majority of African-Americans or other minorities to be protected by a provision of the Voting Rights Act.

The decision could make it harder for southern Democrats to draw friendly boundaries after the 2010 Census.

The justices on Monday declined to expand protections of the landmark civil rights law to take in electoral districts where the minority population is less than 50 percent of the total, but strong enough to effectively determine the outcome of elections.

In 2007, the North Carolina Supreme Court struck down a state legislative district in which blacks made up only about 39 percent of the voting age population. The court said the Voting Rights Act applies only to districts with a numerical majority of minority voters.

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