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A Broken Promise in Texas: Race, the Death Penalty and the Duane Buck Case
Conservative legal activists are set to renew their campaign to overturn the nation's landmark Voting Rights Act, arguing before a federal district judge in Washington on Wednesday that states and local jurisdictions should no longer be forced to justify voting changes to the Justice Department or a federal court.
The lawsuit, brought by officials in Shelby County, Ala., revives a constitutional challenge aimed at the heart of the 1965 law, a challenge that many analysts called the most important issue of the year when it reached the Supreme Court in 2009.
With all the talk over the individual mandate and health-care reform, oral argument in Shelby County v. Holder yesterday in D.C. federal court got little attention. The Alabama county of Shelby is challenging the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which requires designated local and state governments to get approval from the Department of Justice or courts before changing any voting laws or procedures.
President Obama has nominated three Washington lawyers to serve as judges for the District of Columbia Superior Court.
If confirmed, Jennifer Di Toro, Donna Murphy and Yvonne Williams would fill the vacancies created by the retirements of judges Kaye Christian, Brook Hedge and Judith Retchin.
Di Toro, Murphy and Williams come from three different areas of the law.
WASHINGTON -- A federal judge on Wednesday questioned whether a key component of the landmark Voting Rights Act is outdated, expressing skepticism about using evidence of racial discrimination from 40 or 50 years ago to justify continued election monitoring for a group of mostly Southern states.
"We're now looking at a situation where that information is at least 45 years out of date, and by the time the 2006 extension of the Voting Rights Act runs its course it will be 70 years," he said. "That wouldn't seem to be a current coverage formula, would it?"
2/02/11Related Case or Issue:
The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Presents Oral Argument in Defense of Section 5 of the VRA
(New York, NY) – Today the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) presented oral argument in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, a case challenging a core provision of the Voting Rights Act known as Section 5. The provision requires jurisdictions with a history of discrimination to have voting changes reviewed by the U.S. Department of Justice or the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to ensure that they are nondiscriminatory.