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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 Politics Of Preclearance, Luis Fuentes-Rohwer, Guy-Uriel E. Charles Jan 2007

The Politics Of Preclearance, Luis Fuentes-Rohwer, Guy-Uriel E. Charles

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

This Essay examines recent charges of political motivation against the Department of Justice and its enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. These accusations appear well-deserved, on the strength of the Department's recent handling of the Texas redistricting submission and Georgia's voting identification requirement. This Essay reaches two conclusions. First, it is clear that Congress wished to secure its understanding of the Act into the future through its preclearance requirement. Many critics of the voting rights bill worried about the degree of discretion that the legislation accorded the Attorney General. Supporters worried as well, for this degree of discretion ...


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 ...