United States v. Hays

PETITIONER:United States
LOCATION:Phoenix Police Department

DOCKET NO.: 94-558
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1986-2005)

CITATION: 515 US 737 (1995)
ARGUED: Apr 19, 1995
DECIDED: Jun 29, 1995

Drew S. Days, III – on behalf of the Federal Appellant
Drew S. Says, III – for appellant in No. 94-558
Edward W. Warren – on behalf of the Appellees
Richard I. Ieyoub – on behalf of the State Appellants
Richard P. Ieyoub – for appellants in No. 94-627

Facts of the case


Media for United States v. Hays

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument – April 19, 1995 in United States v. Hays

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement – June 29, 1995 in United States v. Hays

William H. Rehnquist:

The opinion of the Court in number 94-558 and a related case United States versus Hays will be announced by Justice O’Connor.

Sandra Day O’Connor:

These consolidated cases come here on direct appeal from the United States District Court of the Western District of Louisiana.

They concern a challenge to Louisiana’s Congressional Districting Plan called Act 1.

Act 1 contains two so-called majority-minority voting districts.

One of them District 2 is located in the New Orleans area.

The other District 4 begins in the northwest part of the State and runs southeast along the Red River to Baton Rouge.

Appellees who do not reside in either majority-minority district claim that Act 1 is a racial gerrymander that violates the Fourteenth Amendment.

The District Court focusing particularly on District 4 agreed that Act 1 constitutes a racial gerrymander subject to strict scrutiny under the principles this Court announced two terms ago in Shaw versus Reno.

It also held that Act 1 is not narrowly tailored to furthering a compelling governmental interest unless that it is unconstitutional.

Louisiana and the United States as a defendant-intervener appealed directly to this Court.

In an opinion filed with the clerk today, we do not reach the merits of appellees challenge to Act 1, because we conclude that appellees lack standing to bring it.

It is well-settled and an order to bring suite in Federal Court, a plaintiff may not assert a generalize grievance against allegedly illegal governmental conduct, but instead must have personally suffered what our case is called “injury in fact”.

We have held that racial classifications of any sort cause individualized injury.

We have recognized in Shaw that in the voting context such classifications can cause special representational harms, but appellees do not live in the allegedly, racially gerrymander district where they might suffer these representational harms nor have they shown that they personally have been classified according to their race.

Appellees therefore, have failed to demonstrate Louisiana’s Redistricting Plan injured them, and as they have not carried their burden of showing they have standing to sue.

We vacate the District Court’s judgment and remand the case with instructions to dismiss the complaint.

Justice Breyer has filed a concurring statement in which Justice Souter joins; Justice Stevens has filed an opinion concurring in the judgment; Justice Ginsburg concurs in the judgment.