Tag: Voting Rights Act
The US Supreme Court carved out a narrow and near unanimous decision today which retains the pre-clearance provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. All justices concurred in the opinion which remanded the case back to the District Court for further proceedings but, there was a partial dissent filed by Associate Justice Clarence Thomas.
The NW Austin Municipal Utility District filed an action to be removed from the pre-clearance provisions of the Voting Rights Act or to declare the statute unconstitutional insofar as it mandated the District be subject to the 2006 enactment of such requirement. The Supreme Court declined to declare Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional, and instead carved out a more limited remedy for political entities such as the utility district to have a private right to file suit to be removed from the pre-clearance requirement (presumably if the DOJ does not allow a “bail out”).
In his concurrence Associate Justice Thomas also dissented in part, arguing in favor of striking down the enforcement provisions of the Voting Rights Act, making the claim that;
Covered jurisdictions are not now engaged in a systematic campaign to deny black citizens access to the ballot through intimidation and violence. And the days of…’property qualifications’ …are gone. There is thus currently no concerted effort in these jurisdictions to engage in the ‘unremitting and ingenious defiance of the Constitution’ that served as the constitutional basis for upholding the ‘uncommon exercise of congressional power embodied in [Section] 5’ (citations omitted).
Nothing could be further from the truth.
It is in fact the case that since 1986, there have been “some 200 cases in which the voter change was withdrawn after DOJ objection” according to Associate Justice Souter in the oral arguments of the case. Associate Justice Breyer in the same oral argument noted that “[s]ince 1982 there were at least 105 successful Section 5 suits and 653 Section 2 suits.”
Justice Thomas went on: