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date: 17 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

For most of our nation’s history, redistricting produced a partisan struggle as the two major parties tried to gain electoral advantage. In the past several decades, however, racial representation emerged as an important element of the redistricting process. The scholarly literature on this topic has examined three related questions: what role should racial redistricting play in the representation of racial interests, how may racial redistricting be used, and what is the connection between descriptive representation and the substantive representation of racial interests? The normative questions concerning how racial interests should be represented and empirical questions concerning how they are represented are discussed by other scholars in this volume. This essay will instead focus on the empirical and legal questions concerning the use of redistricting to produce descriptive representation.

Keywords: redistricting, descriptive representation, substantive representation, Congress, race and politics, Congressional Black Caucus, Voting Rights Act

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