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Section 2 After Section 5: Voting Rights And The Race To The Bottom, Ellen D. Katz Apr 2018

Section 2 After Section 5: Voting Rights And The Race To The Bottom, Ellen D. Katz

Articles

Five years ago, Shelby County v. Holder released nine states and fifty-five smaller jurisdictions from the preclearance obligation set forth in section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). This obligation mandated that places with a history of discrimination in voting obtain federal approval—known as preclearance—before changing any electoral rule or procedure. Within hours of the Shelby County decision, jurisdictions began moving to reenact measures section 5 had specifically blocked. Others pressed forward with new rules that the VRA would have barred prior to Shelby County.


Dismissing Deterrence, Ellen D. Katz Apr 2014

Dismissing Deterrence, Ellen D. Katz

Articles

The proposed Voting Rights Amendment Act of 20144 (VRAA)[...]’s new criteria defining when jurisdictions become subject to preclearance are acutely responsive to the concerns articulated in Shelby County[ v. Holder]. The result is a preclearance regime that, if enacted, would operate in fewer places and demand less from those it regulates. This new regime, however, would not only be more targeted and less powerful, but, curiously, more vulnerable to challenge. In fact, the regime would be more vulnerable precisely because it is so responsive to Shelby County. Some background will help us see why.


Universalism And Civil Rights (With Notes On Voting Rights After Shelby), Samuel R. Bagenstos Jan 2014

Universalism And Civil Rights (With Notes On Voting Rights After Shelby), Samuel R. Bagenstos

Articles

After the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder, voting rights activists proposed a variety of legislative responses. Some proposals sought to move beyond measures that targeted voting discrimination based on race or ethnicity. They instead sought to eliminate certain problematic practices that place too great a burden on voting generally. Responses like these are universalist, because rather than seeking to protect any particular group against discrimination, they formally provide uniform protections to everyone. As Bruce Ackerman shows, voting rights activists confronted a similar set of questions—and at least some of them opted for a universalist approach ...


Election Law's Lochnerian Turn, Ellen D. Katz Jan 2014

Election Law's Lochnerian Turn, Ellen D. Katz

Articles

This panel has been asked to consider whether "the Constitution [is] responsible for electoral dysfunction."' My answer is no. The electoral process undeniably falls well short of our aspirations, but it strikes me that we should look to the Supreme Court for an accounting before blaming the Constitution for the deeply unsatisfactory condition in which we find ourselves.


Hollowed-Out Democracy, Kate Andrias Jan 2014

Hollowed-Out Democracy, Kate Andrias

Articles

Professors Joseph Fishkin’s and Heather Gerken’s essay for this symposium, The Two Trends That Matter for Party Politics, along with the larger project of which it is a part, marks a notable turn (or return) in the law-of-democracy field. Unlike much recent scholarship, Fishkin’s and Gerken’s work does not offer a comprehensive theory of corruption or equality, but instead analyzes the relationship between campaign finance law and the actual functioning of political parties in our democracy. In brief, Fishkin and Gerken tell us that our contemporary political parties are at once highly polarized and oddly weak ...


What Was Wrong With The Record?, Ellen D. Katz Jan 2013

What Was Wrong With The Record?, Ellen D. Katz

Articles

Shelby County v. Holder offers three reasons for why the record Congress amassed to support the 2006 reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) was legally insufficient to justify the statute's continued regional application: (1) the problems Congress documented in 2006 were not as severe as those that prompted it to craft the regime in 1965; (2) these problems did not lead Congress to alter the statute's pre-existing coverage formula; and (3) these problems did not exclusively involve voter registration and the casting of ballots.


South Carolina's 'Evolutionary Process', Ellen D. Katz Jan 2013

South Carolina's 'Evolutionary Process', Ellen D. Katz

Articles

When Congress first enacted the Voting Rights Act (VRA) in 1965, public officials in South Carolina led the charge to scrap the new statute. Their brief to the Supreme Court of the United States described the VRA as an “unjustified” and “arbitrary” affront to the “Equality of Statehood” principle, and a “usurp[ation]” of the State’s legislative and executive functions. Not surprisingly, the Warren Court was unpersuaded and opted instead to endorse broad congressional power to craft “inventive” remedies to address systematic racial discrimination and to “shift the advantage of time and inertia from the perpetrators of evil to ...


Shelby County V. Holder: Why Section 2 Matters, Ellen D. Katz Jan 2013

Shelby County V. Holder: Why Section 2 Matters, Ellen D. Katz

Articles

Editor’s Note: Professor Ellen D. Katz writes and teaches about election law, civil rights and remedies, and equal protection. She and the Voting Rights Initiative at Michigan Law filed a brief as amicus curiae in Shelby County v. Holder, on which the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments February 27. Here, she examines why Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act bears consideration in the case, which involves a challenge to Section 5 of the act.


A Cure Worse Than The Disease?, Ellen D. Katz Jan 2013

A Cure Worse Than The Disease?, Ellen D. Katz

Articles

The pending challenge to section 5 of the Voting Rights Act insists the statute is no longer necessary. Should the Supreme Court agree, its ruling is likely to reflect the belief that section 5 is not only obsolete but that its requirements do more harm today than the condition it was crafted to address. In this Essay, Professor Ellen D. Katz examines why the Court might liken section 5 to a destructive treatment and why reliance on that analogy in the pending case threatens to leave the underlying condition unaddressed and Congress without the power to address it.


From Bush V. Gore To Namudno: A Response To Professor Amar, Ellen D. Katz Jan 2009

From Bush V. Gore To Namudno: A Response To Professor Amar, Ellen D. Katz

Articles

In his Dunwody Lecture, Professor Akhil Amar invites us to revisit the Bush v. Gore controversy and consider what went wrong. This short essay responds to Professor Amar by taking up his invitation and looking at the decision through a seemingly improbable lens, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last June in Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District No. One (NAMUDNO) v. Holder. Among its many surprises, NAMUDNO helps illuminate the Court’s fundamental error nine years ago. Professor Amar forcefully argues that the mistrust with which the Justices in the Bush v. Gore majority viewed the Florida Supreme Court ...


Barack Obama, Margarita Lopez Torres, And The Path To Nomination, Ellen D. Katz Jan 2009

Barack Obama, Margarita Lopez Torres, And The Path To Nomination, Ellen D. Katz

Articles

Operating within these regimes, Obama was able to mount a credible--and ultimately successful--challenge to the leadership's choice for the nomination while Lopez Torres could not. This article offers an explanation why. It argues that Obama succeeded where Lopez Torres failed because the nomination process Obama traversed was more penetrable and more contestable than the one Lopez Torres faced.


Withdrawal: The Roberts Court And The Retreat From Election Law, Ellen D. Katz Jan 2009

Withdrawal: The Roberts Court And The Retreat From Election Law, Ellen D. Katz

Articles

Last Term the Supreme Court handed down four decisions that upheld diverse efforts by state governments to regulate the electoral process. The Court turned back challenges to New York’s method for nominating judicial candidates, Washington’s modified blanket primary system, Indiana’s voter identification requirement, and Alabama’s use of gubernatorial appointment to fill county commission vacancies in Mobile County. Unlike other recent election decisions, these were not close cases. All nine Justices supported the New York holding, while supermajorities voted in favor of the result in the others. This consensus, moreover, emerged even as the Court voted to ...


Congressional Power To Extend Preclearance: A Response To Professor Karlan, Ellen D. Katz Jan 2007

Congressional Power To Extend Preclearance: A Response To Professor Karlan, Ellen D. Katz

Articles

Is the core provision of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional? Many people now think that the Act's preclearance requirement is invalid, but Professor Karlan is not among them. In part, that is because she is not convinced the problems that originally motivated Congress to impose preclearance have been fully remedied. Professor Karlan points out the many ways section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) shapes behavior in the jurisdictions subject to the statute--not just by blocking discriminatory electoral changes, but also by influencing less transparent conduct by various political actors operating in these regions. Do not be so ...


Reviving The Right To Vote, Ellen D. Katz Jan 2007

Reviving The Right To Vote, Ellen D. Katz

Articles

Losers in partisan districting battles have long challenged the resulting districting plans under seemingly unrelated legal doctrines. They have filed lawsuits alleging malapportionment, racial gerrymandering, and racial vote dilution, and they periodically prevail. Many election law scholars worry about these lawsuits, claiming that they needlessly "racialize" fundamentally political disputes, distort important legal doctrines designed for other purposes, and provide an inadequate remedy for a fundamentally distinct electoral problem. I am not convinced. This Article argues that the application of distinct doctrines to invalidate or diminish what are indisputably partisan gerrymanders is not necessarily problematic, and that the practice may well ...


From Laredo To Fort Worth: Race, Politics And The Texas Redistricting Case, Ellen D. Katz Jan 2006

From Laredo To Fort Worth: Race, Politics And The Texas Redistricting Case, Ellen D. Katz

Articles

LULAC v. Perry held that Texas violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act when it displaced nearly 100,000 Latino residents from a congressional district in Laredo to protect the Republican incumbent they refused to support. At the same time, the Justices let stand the dismantling of a so-called “coalition” district in Fort Worth where African-American voters comprising a minority of the district’s population allegedly enjoyed effective control in deciding the district’s representative. Only Justice Kennedy supported the outcome in both Laredo and Fort Worth. His opinion marks the first time that he, or indeed a majority ...


Reinforcing Representation: Enforcing The Fourteenth And Fifteenth Amendments In The Rehnquist And Waite Courts, Ellen D. Katz Jan 2003

Reinforcing Representation: Enforcing The Fourteenth And Fifteenth Amendments In The Rehnquist And Waite Courts, Ellen D. Katz

Articles

A large body of academic scholarship accuses the Rehnquist Court of "undoing the Second Reconstruction," just as the Waite Court has long been blamed for facilitating the end of the First. This critique captures much of what is meant by those generally charging the Rehnquist Court with "conservative judicial activism." It posits that the present Court wants to dismantle decades' worth of federal antidiscrimination measures that are aimed at the "reconstruction" of public and private relationships at the local level. It sees the Waite Court as having similarly nullified the civil-rights initiatives enacted by Congress following the Civil War to ...


What Bush V. Gore Means For Elections In The 21st Century, Helen Norton Jan 2002

What Bush V. Gore Means For Elections In The 21st Century, Helen Norton

Articles

No abstract provided.


The Search For Incontrovertible Visual Evidence, Paul F. Campos Jan 2001

The Search For Incontrovertible Visual Evidence, Paul F. Campos

Articles

No abstract provided.


Federalism, Preclearance, And The Rehnquist Court, Ellen D. Katz Jan 2001

Federalism, Preclearance, And The Rehnquist Court, Ellen D. Katz

Articles

Lopez v. Monterey County is an odd decision. Justice O'Connor's majority opinion easily upholds the constitutionality of a broad construction of section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) in language reminiscent of the Warren Court. Acknowledging the "substantial 'federalism costs" resulting from the VRA's "federal intrusion into sensitive areas of state and local policymaking," Lopez recognizes that the Reconstruction Amendments "contemplate" this encroachment into realms "traditionally reserved to the States." Justice O'Connor affirms as constitutionally permissible the infringement that the section 5 preclearance process "by its nature" effects on state sovereignty, and applies section 5 ...


Trying To Make Peace With Bush V. Gore (Symposium: Bush V. Gore Issue 2001), Richard D. Friedman Jan 2001

Trying To Make Peace With Bush V. Gore (Symposium: Bush V. Gore Issue 2001), Richard D. Friedman

Articles

The Supreme Court's decision in Bush v. Gore, shutting down the recounts of Florida's vote in the 2000 presidential election and effectively awarding the election to George W. Bush, has struck many observers, including myself, as outrageous.' Decisions of the Supreme Court should be more than mere reflections of ideological or partisan preference thinly camouflaged behind legalistic language. It would therefore be pleasant to be able to believe that they are more than that. Accordingly, Judge Richard Posner's analysis,2 in which he defends the result reached by the Court-though not the path by which it got ...


'Bush' V. 'Gore': What Was The Supreme Court Thinking?, Richard D. Friedman Jan 2001

'Bush' V. 'Gore': What Was The Supreme Court Thinking?, Richard D. Friedman

Articles

One of the most astonishing episodes in American political history ended last month with perhaps the most imperial decision ever by the United States Supreme Court. In one stroke, the Court exercised power that belonged to Congress, the legislature of Florida, Florida's courts and administrators, and, most importantly, the people of the state.


Washington's Ballot Restriction For Minor Party Candidates: When Is A Primary Not A Primary?, Emily Calhoun Jan 1986

Washington's Ballot Restriction For Minor Party Candidates: When Is A Primary Not A Primary?, Emily Calhoun

Articles

No abstract provided.


The First Amendment And Distributional Voting Rights Controversies, Emily M. Calhoun Jan 1985

The First Amendment And Distributional Voting Rights Controversies, Emily M. Calhoun

Articles

No abstract provided.


Nonpopulation Factors Relevant To An Acceptable Standard For Apportionment, Jerold H. Israel Jan 1963

Nonpopulation Factors Relevant To An Acceptable Standard For Apportionment, Jerold H. Israel

Articles

Of the many problems left unanswered in Baker v. Carr,' the one that has received the most attention both from lower courts and commentators is that of prescribing a specific standard for determining what constitutes a denial of "equal protection" in legislative apportionment.2 The starting point universally accepted - indeed, probably required by Baker - for attacking this problem is the definition of apportionment equality in terms of mathematical measurement of the individual's "voting power."3 Perfect equality in apportionment is viewed as requiring that each election district contain an equal population, so that every individual's vote in his ...


On Charting A Course Through The Mathematical Quagmire: The Future Of Baker V. Carr, Jerold H. Israel Jan 1962

On Charting A Course Through The Mathematical Quagmire: The Future Of Baker V. Carr, Jerold H. Israel

Articles

The Tennessee reapportionment decision, Baker v. Carr,' has been popularly characterized as one of the "very few judicial decisions which have fundamentally reshaped our constitutional system."'2 Newspaper and magazine commentators generally have predicted that the decision of last March is likely to "change the course of our history" by producing a drastic alteration in the balance of power on the state political scene.3 While this end may be desirable,4 any such estimate of the future impact of the Baker decision, at least insofar as its legal consequence is concerned,5 seems not only premature but somewhat exaggerated ...


The Newberry Case, Ralph W. Aigler Jan 1921

The Newberry Case, Ralph W. Aigler

Articles

Senator Newberry of Michigan and sixteen others were convicted in the United States District Court on the charge that they "unlawfully and feloniously did conspire, combine, confederate, and agree together to commit the offense [in the Newberry indictment] on his part of wilfully violating the act of Congress approved June 25, 1910, as amended, by giving, contributing, expending, and using and by causing to be given, contributed, expended and used in procuring his nomination and election at said primary and general elections, a greater sum than the laws of Michigan permitted and above ten thousand dollars," etc. The Act of ...