On Tuesday, November 19, 2013, the Rose Institute of State and Local Government held a panel discussion on the Voting Rights Act after the Supreme Court struck down key provisions in Shelby County v. Holder. The Institute was fortunate to have two voting rights experts on the panel: Bruce Cain, distinguished political scientist and director… Continue Reading
Tag Archives: voting rights act
The Voting Rights Act was enacted to make “the promise of the right to vote under the 15th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution a reality, ninety-five years after [its] passage”. Under the Voting Rights Act of 1965, sixteen states are required to submit any redistricting plans to the U.S. Department of Justice for preclearance. Preclearance is defined as the process of seeking U.S. Department of Justice approval for all changes related to voting. Section 5 of the Act requires that the United States Department of Justice or a three-judge panel of the United States District Court for District of Columbia “preclear” any attempt to change “any voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure with respect to voting…” in any “covered jurisdiction”. Continue Reading
The Supreme Court decided on January 20th to stay the ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in the matter of West Virginia’s new congressional districts, meaning that upcoming congressional elections will be conducted in the new districts created by West Virginia’s legislature following the 2010 Census.
On January 20th, the United States Supreme Court ordered a federal court in Texas to reconsider the maps it had drawn for the state’s legislative districts. The Court unanimously held that the lower court may not have used “appropriate standards” in drawing the new maps. Instead, the lower court had “substituted its own concept of the collective public good for the Texas legislature’s determination of which policies serve the interests of the citizens of Texas.” The Court remanded the case to the district court to draw new maps, this time starting from the plan created by the state legislature last year. Please see this earlier coverage by the Rose Report for a more in-depth analysis on the background of the case.
The Supreme Court on Monday held 70 minutes of argument for three cases on the new state legislative and congressional districts Texas will use in 2012 and beyond. The three cases under review are Perry v. Perez (11-713) on redistricting the state house, Perry v. Davis (11-714) on redistricting the state senate, and Perry v. Perez (11-715) on redistricting the U.S. House. At issue is whether the San Antonio federal court had the authority to impose a new legislative district plan on Texas when the state legislature’s plan had not obtained the “preclearance” required under Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The cases focus on Section 5 issues, but have broader implications for the division of power between state legislatures and federal courts in redistricting.
On October 17th, the Press-Enterprise ran an article titled “INLAND: State voting rights law reshapes local elections” on the recent changes in local government organization, along with the new census data, that are affecting local elections, citing Rose Fellow Doug Johnson. Continue Reading
On September 9th, following a short hearing in Miami Federal court, Federal Judge Ursula Ungaro suppressed a challenge to a Florida constitutional amendment regulating redistricting in the state. Minority House members Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Miami, and Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville, successfully contended that Amendment 6, which forbids the state Legislature from gerrymandering, or drawing congressional boundaries… Continue Reading