Racial Vote Dilution in Multimember Districts: The Constitutional Standard After Washington v. Davis

This Note argues that the effect-oriented standard for multimember-district vote-dilution claims is unaffected by the Washington intent requirement. Part I outlines the manner in which multimember districts can dilute minority voting strength. After summarizing Washington‘s intent requirement, Part II surveys the post-Washington vote dilution cases and demonstrates that the applicability of the intent standard to vote dilution claims is uncertain. Part III first suggests two ways in which White and Washington may be reconciled. That section then argues that White is unaffected by the intent requirement because the standard for vote dilution fits within a fundamental interest analysis not altered by Washington. Finally, Part III asserts that, even if racial vote dilution is treated as a form of racial discrimination, the effect-oriented test used in White survives because it is not the kind of disproportionate-impact analysis rejected in Washington.