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Shelby county vs. holder

  1. 1. Shelby County vs. Holder ● Mr. Harrison and Ms. Smith ● UD 7 ● February 2014
  2. 2. Facts of the Case ● Shelby County, Alabama, filed suit in district court seeking a judgment that Section 5 and Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 are unconstitutional and seeking a permanent injunction against their enforcement ● The District court upheld the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act Section 5 ● The U.S. Court of Appeals upheld that Congress did not exceed it powers by re-authorizing Section 5 ● The Supreme Court Agreed to hear the case in 2012
  3. 3. Where Shelby County, Alabama Land area in square miles, 2010 784.93 Persons per square mile 2010 248.5
  4. 4. When Timeline: Granted a hearing by the Supreme Court: Friday, November 9, 2012 Argued in front of the Court: by Burt W. Rein for Shelby County Donald B. Verrilli, Jr. for DOJ Wednesday, February 27, 2013 Decided : Tuesday, June 25, 2013
  5. 5. Why ● In 2006, without obtaining federal preclearance, the city of Calera in Shelby County held city council elections after re-drawing its city council districts. ● The re-districting eliminated the only district that gave African American voters the opportunity to elect a candidate of their choice. ● In the next election Councilman Ernest Montgomery, the second African American in the history of the city to become a councilman, lost his seat ● The redistricting changes were challenged by the USDOJ under Section 5 forcing the city of Calera to redo its redistricting plan and conduct new elections. Montgomery won back his seat ● Section 5 was originally enacted for 5 years but was continually renewed by Congress.
  6. 6. Who: Plaintiffs Plaintiffs Shelby County, Alabama Population, 2013 estimate 4,833,722 ● White alone 2012 (a) 84.7% (SC) 70.0% (AL) ● Black or African American alone 11.5% (SC) 26.5% (AL) ● Two or More Races 2012 6.0% (SC) 4.1% (AL) ● Hispanic or Latino 6.0% (SC) 4.1%(AL) Household Income ● Median household income, 2008-2012 $69,379 (SC) $43,160 (AL) ● Persons below poverty level, percent definition and source info Persons below poverty level, percent, 2008-2012 7.7% (SC) 18.1% (AL)
  7. 7. Who: Defendant Attorney General Eric Holder Commenting on the enforcement responsibilities of the DOJ “The constitutionally protected voting rights of all Americans remain fully intact. And the right to vote, free from discrimination based on race or language, requires our vigilant protection” (Holder, p.1) THE ACLU intervened in the case on behalf of the Alabama State Conference of the NAACP “ Every eligible voter in Alabama regardless of race has the right to have his or her vote count.” (ACLU p.1)
  8. 8. What Question before the Court: Does the renewal of Section 5 of the Voter Rights Act under the constraints of Section 4(b) exceed Congress’ authority under the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, and violate the Tenth Amendment and Article Four of the Constitution? What does section 4(b) say: The Attorney General under any statute to enforce the guarantees of the Fifteenth Amendment in any State or political subdivision the court finds that a test or device has been used for the purpose or with the effect of denying or abridging the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color, it shall suspend the use of tests and devices in such State or political subdivisions as the court shall determine is appropriate and for such period as it deems necessary.
  9. 9. How In his concurring opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas argued that Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act is unconstitutional in addition to Section 4 that the blatant discrimination against certain voters that Section 5 was intended to prohibit is no longer evident. Without such circumstances, Congress cannot constitutionally justify placing the burden of Section 5 on the states in question
  10. 10. Outcomes and Opinions Court opinions: Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. delivered the opinion of the 5-4 majority. ● The Court held that Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act imposes burdens that are no longer responsive to the current conditions in the voting districts in question ● The constraints on specific states made sense in the 1960s and 1970s, they do not any longer ● They represent an unconstitutional violation of the power to regulate elections that the Constitution reserves for the states.
  11. 11. Dissenting Opinion Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg argued that Congress’ power to enforce the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments includes legislation such as the Voting Rights Act. ● The evidence Congress gathered sufficiently proved that there was still a current need to justify the burdens placed on the states in question ● She also argued that, by holding Section 4 unconstitutional, the majority’s opinion makes it impossible to effectively enforce Section 5 (Section 5 prohibits eligible districts from enacting changes to their election laws and procedures without gaining official authorization.)
  12. 12. Works Cited Abilock, D. (2012, March). True-or Not? Educational Leadership, 70-74. Coiro, J. (2011). Talking about reading as thinking: Modeling the hidden complexities of online reading comprehension. Theory into Practice, 50. doi:10.1080/00405841.2011.558435 Coiro, J., & Dobler, E. (2007, Spring). Exploring the online reading comprehension strategies used by sixth-grade skilled readers to search for and locate information on the internet. Reading Research Quarterly, 42(2), 214-257. Harris, A. (2011, October). How effective are print-based comprehension models fro reading and assessing multimodal texts? Literacy Learning in the Middle Years, 19(3), 19-32. Heil, D. (2005, December). The Internet and st