Scott Reed

Document Type

Supreme Court Commentaries

Publication Date



Racial Gerrymandering, Voting Rights Act, Partisan Gerrymandering

Subject Category

Constitutional Law | Supreme Court of the United States


In Bethune-Hill v. Virginia Board of Elections, the Supreme Court had to decide whether twelve Virginia challenged legislative districts, in which a one-size-fits-all 55% black voting age population floor was imposed, withstood constitutional scrutiny. The Court, though stating that the lower court misapplied precedent, declined to hold that race predominated in the formation of the districts and that strict scrutiny would be triggered, instead remanding to the lower court for reexamination. This commentary argues that the Court missed an opportunity to hold that a 55% BVAP floor prioritized above all else is per se racial predomination, and such a holding would be justified by serious policy goals.