The Supreme Court of the United States heard oral arguments yesterday in Shelby County v. Holder (docket number 12-96), a case which challenged the Voting Rights Act of 1965. A copy of the transcript from the argument can be found here.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 has been credited as one of the most effective civil rights laws in United States history. The question Shelby County raises is whether discrimination is still concentrated in the geographic areas in which the law applies. Specifically, Shelby County asked the Court to strike down Section 5 of the Act as written, which uses a formulation to determine which states the law applies to. Section 5 requires the qualifying states to receive permission prior to changing any voting law. A state may regain control under the current law if the state can prove its election laws were nondiscriminatory for a period of ten years.
For commentary on the argument, see Lyle Denniston’s recap in SCOTUSblog, and his overview of the case. The Court seemed divided at oral arguments, and the outcome will be determined when the Court publishes its opinion.
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