In North Carolina, 78 percent of voters were white, and 20 percent were black. The black population was largely concentrated in the northern Coastal Plain region. Based on the 1990 census, the North Carolina legislature created a new redistricting plan that included one majority black congressional district centered in the Coastal Plain region. The U.S. Attorney General, Janet Reno (defendant), objected to the plan based on the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In response, North Carolina created a second majority black congressional district, which is 160 miles long and unusually shaped, winding through the I-85 corridor, crossing 10 counties, and dividing towns. Shaw and several North Carolina residents (plaintiffs) challenged the redistricting plan in federal district court, arguing that the plan was an unconstitutional racial gerrymander. A three-judge panel of the district court dismissed the complaint, and the plaintiffs appealed to the United States Supreme Court.