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The Power of Now
Monday, September 24, 2012
Today, in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), along with the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation and Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, filed a brief opposing Shelby County, Alabama’s appeal to the Supreme Court.
The case involves a challenge to the Section 5 “preclearance” provision of the Voting Rights Act, which requires states and jurisdictions with some of the worst histories of voting discrimination, such as Alabama, to have all voting changes reviewed by the U.S. Department of Justice or D.C. District Court to ensure they are free from discrimination.
In May, for the second time in the past year, a federal court in Washington, D.C. rejected Shelby County’s constitutional challenge to the heart of the 2006 reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act. Shelby County, Alabama appealed this ruling in July.
In rejecting this challenge, Judge Tatel, writing for the majority, ruled that Congress appropriately extended the protections of the preclearance requirement in 2006 for 25 more years: “After thoroughly scrutinizing the record and given that overt racial discrimination persists in covered jurisdictions notwithstanding decades of section 5 preclearance, we, like the district court, are satisfied that Congress’s judgment deserves judicial deference.”