Publication Date



In his memoirs, Chief Justice Earl Warren singled out
the redistrictingcases as the most significant decisions of
his tenure on the Court., A review of the changes
redistricting introduced in Georgia supports Warren's
assessment. Not only have the obligations to equalize
populations across districts and to do so in a racially fair
manner transformed the makeup of the state's collegial
bodies, Georgia has provided the setting for multiple cases
that have defined the requirements to be met when
designing districts.
Other than the very first adjustments that occurred in
the 1960s, changes in Georgia plans had to secure
approval from the federal government pursuant to the
Voting Rights Act. Also, the first four decades of the
Redistricting Revolution occurred with a Democratic
legislature and governor in place. Not surprisingly, the
partisansin control of redistrictingsought to protect their
own and as that became difficult they employed more
extreme measures.
When in the minority, Republicans had no chance to
enact plans on their own. Beginning in the 1980s and
peaking a decade later, Republicans joined forces with
black Democrats to devise alternatives to the proposals of
white Democrats. The biracial,bipartisancoalition never
had sufficient numbers to enact its ideas. After striking
out in the legislature,African-Americans appealed to the
U.S. Attorney General alleging that the plans enacted
were less favorable to black interests than alternatives

offered by the coalition. Every iteration,save for the plans
drawn in the 1960s and 2011, bore the marks of what the
Department of Justice (DOJ)believed necessary to secure
equal treatment of African-Americans. As will become
clear in the course of this Article, the DOJ's perspective
has changed over time.
This Article is arrangedchronologically and examines
each of the major rounds of redistricting. Aside from
adjusting for population shifts, which remain constant, a
different concern or theme dominated each round. In the
1960s, Georgia and other states were like individuals who
had begun flexing long-ignored muscles as they set about
adjusting lines that had gone unchanged for decades. In
the 1970s, as the need for redistricting merged with
demands from the Voting Rights Act, pushback occurred
as it did in the many other aspects of racial interactionas
the nation finally began to take seriously its commitment
to equality. A decade later, Georgia encountered a DOJ
that had precise quantitative goals for what was
necessary to provide African-Americans an opportunity to
elect their preferences. In the 1990s, DOJ incorporated
Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act into its preclearance
reviews and demanded that Georgia enhance the number
of majority-black districts and that it maximize the black
percentage in those districts. The turn of the new century
found the generations-longDemocratic control of Georgia
slipping away and the majority party pulled out all the
stops desperately trying to cling to power. Democratic
efforts could not withstand the tide of partisan
realignment and court challenges so that in 2011
Republicans sat at the computer terminals and
redistrictedGeorgia. Republicans attempted to maximize
their control over the legislature by devising plans that
might produce super-majorities with two-thirds of the
seats in each chamber