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On Tuesday, October 14, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Bartlett v. Strickland. Here the Supreme Court considers the problem of minority vote dilution in a case arising from a dispute about North Carolina state House District 18, which includes parts of Pender and New Hanover Counties. The district was created as a "cross-over district," with about 39% of the voting population being black, who with "cross-over" votes have been able to elect a black representative for the past 16 years. In 2004 Pender County challenged the district, claiming that as drawn it violated the North Carolina State Constitution by splitting Pender County into multiple districts. The trial court upheld the district as drawn, claiming that it was necessary under the Voting Rights Act to prevent vote dilution of the minority, but the North Carolina Supreme Court overturned the ruling, deciding that only minorities who composed an actual majority of a potential district could state a vote dilution claim. The Supreme Court now considers under what circumstances a minority may state a vote dilution claim under the Voting Rights Act. Former Federal Election Commissioner Hans von Spakovsky discusses the case.
Oral Argument - October 14, 2008: