7/6: Democrats claim the court's decision in Shelby County v. Holder has gutted the Voting Rights Act, while Republicans claim increased election integrity.
If Democrats use Section 2 to aggressively attack state laws, it could put the provision at risk.
ACRU Policy Board member J. Christian Adams explains in a [...]
ALEXANDRIA, VA (June 20, 2016) --- Opponents of North Carolina's voter photo ID law wrongly sought to use an illegal interpretation of the Voting Rights Act to attack North Carolina's election integrity law, the American Civil Rights Union (ACRU) argues in a brief filed on June 16 at the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Regarding North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, et al. v. Patrick L. McCrory, et al., the brief, notes that a U.S. District Court rightly rejected the plaintiffs' claim that the law violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. In 2013, in Shelby County v. Holder, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which had required Southern states and other jurisdictions to obtain preclearance from a D.C.-based court panel or from the U.S. Justice Department for any changes in districting or voting laws. The Court said the requirement was based on obsolete data and was no longer necessary, but left intact Section 2, which empowers the federal government to address discriminatory voting conditions in the states. In the current case, the plaintiff attempted to make a purely statistical case of disparate impact that the law discriminates against minorities. The plaintiffs sought to use hair-trigger standards to strike down state laws that the Supreme Court invalidated in Shelby County. "The appropriate standard is one that looks to the totality of the circumstances, as expressed in Section 2, and does not use statistical disparities between groups of voters to establish liability," the ACRU brief says. The District Court's ruling upholding the law "is consistent with traditional Section 2 jurisprudence, does not conflict with Shelby County, and preserves the constitutional balance between states and the federal government," the brief states. "The opponents of common-sense voter ID laws are attempting an end run around the Supreme Court," said Susan A. Carleson, Chairman/CEO of the ACRU. "The District Court got it right, and we are confident that North Carolina's law will stand in the appeals process."
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Feb. 4, 2015) -- The U.S. Fourth Circuit [...]
By Edwin Meese III and J. Kenneth Blackwell Attorney General Eric Holder, who announced his resignation on Thursday, leaves a dismal legacy at the Justice Department, but one of his legal innovations was especially pernicious: the demonizing of state attempts to ensure honest elections. As a former U.S. attorney general under President Reagan, and a former Ohio secretary of state, we would like to say something that might strike some as obvious: Those who oppose photo voter-ID laws and other election-integrity reforms are intent on making it easier to commit vote fraud. That conclusion is inescapable, given the well-established evidence that voter-ID laws don't disenfranchise minorities or reduce minority voting, and in many instances enhance it, despite claims to the contrary by Mr. Holder and his allies. As more states adopt such laws, the left has railed against them with increasing fury, even invoking the specter of the Jim Crow era to describe electoral safeguards common to most nations, including in the Third World. Ascribing racial animus to people who are trying to safeguard democratic integrity is a crude yet effective political tactic that obscures the truth. But there's something even worse than name-calling: legal interference from Washington with valid laws. Attorney General Holder has sued Texas and North Carolina since the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling last year in Shelby County v. Holder. That decision invalidated Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which made inoperable Section 5, a provision requiring the Justice Department or a D.C.-based federal court panel to pre-clear all election-law changes in nine states and multiple jurisdictions. The court rightly noted that the data on which the law was based are no longer valid, and that times have changed.
On July 18, 2013, ACRU Policy Board member J. Christian Adams delivered the following testimony on the Voting Rights Act before the House Judiciary Committee's subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice.
MONTGOMERY -- Top Alabama officials say voters apparently will have to present photo identification at the polls in the next election. Gov. Robert Bentley, Secretary of State Beth Chapman and Attorney General Luther Strange said the Supreme Court's ruling on June 24 throwing out part of the federal Voting Rights Act means the state does not have to submit for preclearance a new law requiring voters to show photo identification.
RALEIGH -- Voter identification legislation in North Carolina will pick up steam again now that the U.S. Supreme Court has struck down part of the Voting Rights Act, a key General Assembly leader said.
The Supreme Court has decided Shelby v. Holder. It is one of the most important decisions in decades. Now, federal preclearance of state election procedures seems to be forever dead and buried. While some Congressional Republicans had vowed to enact new legislation to "fix" any coverage formula deemed unconstitutional, the Court opinion today offers almost no room to do so.