Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Law and Race Commons

Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Articles 1 - 22 of 22

Full-Text Articles in Law and Race

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.


Concealed Motives: Rethinking Fourteenth Amendment And Voting Rights Challenges To Felon Disenfranchisement, Lauren Latterell Powell Mar 2017

Concealed Motives: Rethinking Fourteenth Amendment And Voting Rights Challenges To Felon Disenfranchisement, Lauren Latterell Powell

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Felon disenfranchisement provisions are justified by many Americans under the principle that voting is a privilege to be enjoyed only by upstanding citizens. The provisions are intimately tied, however, to the country’s legacy of racism and systemic disenfranchisement and are at odds with the values of American democracy. In virtually every state, felon disenfranchisement provisions affect the poor and communities of color on a grossly disproportionate scale. Yet to date, most challenges to the provisions under the Equal Protection Clause and Voting Rights Act have been unsuccessful, frustrating proponents of re-enfranchisement and the disenfranchised alike.

In light of those ...


Justice Ginsburg's Umbrella, Ellen D. Katz Jan 2015

Justice Ginsburg's Umbrella, Ellen D. Katz

Book Chapters

Near the end of her dissent in Shelby County v. Holder, Justice Ginsburg suggested a simple analogy to illustrate why the regional protections of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) were still necessary. She wrote that “[t]hrowing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.”


Enforcing The Fifteenth Amendment, Ellen D. Katz Jan 2015

Enforcing The Fifteenth Amendment, Ellen D. Katz

Book Chapters

This chapter examines efforts to enforce the Fifteenth Amendment in the period from United States v. Reese through Shelby County v. Holder. Reese and Shelby County expose the most rigorous stance the Court has employed to review congressional efforts to enforce the Fifteenth Amendment, while the years in-between show Congress and the Court working more in tandem, at times displaying remarkable indifference to blatant violations of the Fifteenth Amendment, and elsewhere working cooperatively to help vindicate the Amendment’s promise. Defying simple explanation, this vacillation between cooperation and resistance captures the complex and deeply consequential way concerns about federal power ...


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.


Lining Up: Ensuring Equal Access To Vote, Gilda R. Daniels Aug 2013

Lining Up: Ensuring Equal Access To Vote, Gilda R. Daniels

All Faculty Scholarship

This booklet ( a joint project of the Advancement Project and the Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights Under Law) provides an extensive overview of restrictive voting laws, especially concerning minority voters. Daniels begins with a summary of voter obstructions and intimidation in the 2012 election, and then places that within the context of the history of voting and race in America.

Most recently, the Section 5 protections of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were effectively removed by the Shelby County v. Holder Supreme Court decision. Daniels then explains what this means practically and legally for minority voters and how ...


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.


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 ...


Why Counting Votes Doesn't Add Up: A Response To Cox And Miles' Judging The Voting Rights Act, Ellen D. Katz, Anna Baldwin Jan 2008

Why Counting Votes Doesn't Add Up: A Response To Cox And Miles' Judging The Voting Rights Act, Ellen D. Katz, Anna Baldwin

Articles

In Judging the Voting Rights Act, Professors Adam B. Cox and Thomas J. Miles report that judges are more likely to find liability under section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) when they are African American, appointed by a Democratic president, or sit on an appellate panel with a judge who is African American or a Democratic appointee. Cox and Miles posit that their findings “contrast” and “cast doubt” on much of the “conventional wisdom” about the Voting Rights Act, by which they mean the core findings we reported in Documenting Discrimination in Voting: Judicial Findings Under Section 2 ...


Not Like The South? Regional Variation And Political Participation Through The Lens Of Section 2, Ellen D. Katz Jan 2007

Not Like The South? Regional Variation And Political Participation Through The Lens Of Section 2, Ellen D. Katz

Book Chapters

Congress voted last summer to reauthorize the expiring provisions of the Voting Rights Act. Among the reauthorized provisions is the Section 5 preclearance process, which requires "covered" jurisdictions to obtain federal approval before implementing changes to their voting laws. It is widely assumed that the reauthorization of Section 5 will survive constitutional scrutiny only if the record Congress amassed to support the statute documents pervasive unconstitutional conduct in covered jurisdictions for which preclearance offers a remedy. This paper takes issue with that assumption, arguing that precedent requiring such a record for new congressional legislation enforcing civil rights ought not apply ...


The Power Of Observation: The Role Of Federal Observers Under The Voting Rights Act, James Thomas Tucker Jan 2007

The Power Of Observation: The Role Of Federal Observers Under The Voting Rights Act, James Thomas Tucker

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA) is one of the most successful civil rights laws ever enacted. Following its passage, the promise of the Fifteenth Amendment has become a reality for millions of Americans. Black voters in the South register to vote without being subjected to discriminatory tests or devices. Minority citizens can cast ballots free of intimidation and violence. Barriers posed by English-only elections have been removed for many language minority voters. Voters are permitted to receive assistance from the person of their choice. Federal observers play an indispensable role in serving as the eyes and ears of ...


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 ...


Mission Accomplished?, Ellen D. Katz Jan 2007

Mission Accomplished?, Ellen D. Katz

Articles

My study of voting rights violations nationwide suggests that voting problems are more prevalent in places “covered” by the Act than elsewhere. Professor Persily’s careful and measured defense of the renewed statute posits that this evidence is the best available to support reauthorization. The evidence matters because if, as critics charge, the regional provisions of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) are no longer needed, minority voters should confront fewer obstacles to political participation in places where additional federal safeguards protect minority interests than in places where these safeguards do not operate. In fact, minority voters confront more.


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 ...


Documenting Discrimination In Voting: Judicial Findings Under Section 2 Of The Voting Rights Act Since 1982, Ellen D. Katz, Margaret Aisenbrey, Anna Baldwin, Emma Cheuse, Anna Weisbrodt Jan 2006

Documenting Discrimination In Voting: Judicial Findings Under Section 2 Of The Voting Rights Act Since 1982, Ellen D. Katz, Margaret Aisenbrey, Anna Baldwin, Emma Cheuse, Anna Weisbrodt

Other Publications

The Voting Rights Initiative ("VRI") at the University of Michigan Law School was created during the winter of 2005 to help inform [...] the debates that led to this latest congressional reauthorization and the legal challenge to it that is certain to follow. A cooperative research venture involving 100 students working under faculty direction set out to produce a detailed portrait of litigation brought since 1982 under Section 2. This Report evaluates the results of that survey. The comprehensive data set may be found in a searchable form at http://www.votingreport.org or http://www.sitemaker.umich.edu/votingrights. The ...


Strategic Voting And African-Americans: True Vote, True Representation, True Power For The Black Community, Maxine Burkett Jan 2003

Strategic Voting And African-Americans: True Vote, True Representation, True Power For The Black Community, Maxine Burkett

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

As long as American politics remain securely bound to the two-party system, Blacks will remain a voting block; a block that may shift, but a block nonetheless. And although this appears to be to our strategic disadvantage, allowing conviction to direct us, as well as a deep respect for the intense struggle for the franchise, will forever be a noble posture.


Can Minority Voting Rights Survive Miller V. Johnson, Laughlin Mcdonald Jan 1996

Can Minority Voting Rights Survive Miller V. Johnson, Laughlin Mcdonald

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Part I of this Article reviews the congressional redistricting process in Georgia, particularly the State's efforts to comply with the Voting Rights Act and avoid the dilution of minority voting strength. Part II describes the plaintiffs' constitutional challenge and the State's asserted defenses, or more accurately its lack of asserted defenses. Part III argues that the decision of the majority rests upon wholly false assumptions about the colorblindness of the political process and the harm caused by remedial redistricting. Part IV notes the expansion in Miller of the cause of action first recognized in Shaw v. Reno. Part ...


The Empitness Of Majority Rule, Luis Fuentes-Rohwer Jan 1996

The Empitness Of Majority Rule, Luis Fuentes-Rohwer

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

In this Note, the author steers away from the current substantive debates surrounding the Voting Rights Act, its various amendments, and the "correct" way of interpreting its intended benefits and constitutionally accepted mandates. Instead, indirectly joins the many "radical" voices advocating for a departure from the majoritarian stranglehold-the decision-making process where fifty percent plus one of the voting population carry the election. The author does so not by suggesting yet another mechanism by which representatives may be elected, but by critiquing the perceived underpinnings of our democratic system of government. The author does not profess to delineate a definitive interpretation ...


Democracy And Dis-Appointment, Lani Guinier May 1995

Democracy And Dis-Appointment, Lani Guinier

Michigan Law Review

A Review of The Tyranny of the Majority: Fundamental Fairness in Representative Democracy


The Triumph Of Tokenism: The Voting Rights Act And The Theory Of Black Electoral Success, Lani Guinier Mar 1991

The Triumph Of Tokenism: The Voting Rights Act And The Theory Of Black Electoral Success, Lani Guinier

Michigan Law Review

In this article, my goal is to organize the divergent themes of black electoral success strategy within one conceptual framework in order to give the themes more cogency and attention. Having exposed the existence of a coherent theory, I then argue that the theory posits many of the correct goals but fails to provide a realistic mechanism for achieving them. The article proceeds in three Parts. In Part I, I develop the ideological and statutory roots of black electoral success theory. In Part II, I analyze the inadequacies of current voting rights litigation and its failure to realize the statute ...


Voting Rights Act Section 2: Racially Polarized Voting And The Minority Community's Representative Of Choice, Evelyn Elayne Shockley Feb 1991

Voting Rights Act Section 2: Racially Polarized Voting And The Minority Community's Representative Of Choice, Evelyn Elayne Shockley

Michigan Law Review

A much needed congressional effort to give substance to African-American suffrage resulted in the enactment of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (the Act). Although the fifteenth amendment gave African-American men the right to vote in 1870, almost a hundred years later they were still largely unable to exercise the right. This condition did not result from apathy on the part of African-American voters, but rather from their inability to overcome barriers set up by white racists. Practices whites instituted, such as "[l]iteracy and 'understanding' tests, poll taxes, the white primary, intimidation, [and] violence," prevented African-Americans from realizing their ...