Voting Rights

The Future of Voting Rights - Event Audio/Video

Civil Rights in the United States
David H. Gans, Ilya Shapiro, Hans A. von Spakovsky, Michael Barone September 14, 2014

The Supreme Court’s ruling in Shelby County v. Holder, which disabled Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, has led some advocates (including the White House) to argue that voting rights are in peril. But other experts say these fears are wildly overblown and that Shelby County confirms that circumstances have changed dramatically for the better. They argue that Section 5’s federal “preclearance” regime can no longer be justified given that the systematic disenfranchisement of the Jim Crow era has disappeared—racial disparities in voter registration and turnout are gone, especially in previously covered jurisdictions—and that we should focus on actual instances of racial discrimination (as well as election administration). After all, Sections 2 and 3 are still very much in place, although Section 2 has been interpreted to require racial gerrymandering in a way that benefits both major parties but harms American democracy. This panel will discuss the state of voting rights today, including the Justice Department’s enforcement actions, proposed legislation in Congress, voter-ID laws, felon voting, and related issues in the states.

This panel on "The Future of Voting Rights" was part of a day-long conference on Civil Rights in the United States held on September 9, 2014, and co-sponsored by the Federalist Society's Civil Rights Practice Group, the Cato Institute, and the Heritage Foundation.


  • Mr. David H. Gans, Director, Human Rights, Civil Rights, and Citizenship Program, Constitutional Accountability Center
  • Mr. Ilya Shapiro, Senior Fellow in Constitutional Studies, Cato Institute
  • Mr. Hans A. von Spakovsky, Senior Legal Fellow and Manager, Civil Justice Reform Initiative, The Heritage Foundation
  • Moderator: Mr. Michael Barone, Senior Political Analyst, the Washington Examiner

The Mayflower Hotel
Washington, DC

Part II: Can States Require Proof of Citizenship for Voter Registration?: Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona

Engage Volume 14, Issue 3 October 2013
Anthony T. (Tom) Caso February 28, 2014

PassportsLast term the Court heard a case examining a perceived clash between state and federal law on voter registration.  The Court ruled that the federal law preempted Arizona’s state law, thus relegating states’ constitutional authority to regulate voter qualification to federal supervision....[Read Now!]

Testimony on “The Voting Rights Act after the Supreme Court’s Decision in Shelby County”

Engage Volume 14, Issue 2 July 2013
Hans A. von Spakovsky October 31, 2013

voteThis article is based on testimony given by the author before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution on July 18, 2013. by Hans A. von Spakovsky on the Voting Rights Act after the Supreme Court’s Decision in Shelby County....[Read Now!]

Shelby County Going Forward - Podcast

Civil Rights Practice Group and Free Speech & Election Law Practice Group Podcast
Abigail Thernstrom, Dean A. Reuter July 29, 2013

Shelby County Going Forward - PodcastOn Tuesday, June 25, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Shelby County v. Holder, a Voting Rights Act case. Our expert discusses the decision and the implications. 


  • Hon. Abigail Thernstrom, Vice-chair, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and Adjunct Scholar, American Enterprise Institute
  • Moderator: Mr. Dean A. Reuter, Vice President & Director of Practice Groups, The Federalist Society

[Listen now!]

Debate on Fisher and Shelby County - Podcast

Civil Rights Practice Group, American Constitution Society, and National Constitution Center Podcast
Erwin Chemerinsky, Roger B. Clegg, Jeffrey Rosen June 28, 2013

Debate on Fisher and Shelby County - PodcastThe Federalist Society co-sponsored a Teleforum call with the National Constitution Center and the American Constitution Society to discuss the Supreme Court's decisions in the Fisher affirmative action case and the Shelby County Voting Rights Act case.  On this previously recorded conference call, Roger Clegg, President and CEO of the Center for Equal Opportunity, Erwin Chemerinsky, Founding Dean of the University of California, Irvine, School of Law, and Jeffrey Rosen, President and CEO of the National Constitution Center, discuss the opinions and their implications.


  • Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, Founding Dean, University of California, Irvine School of Law
  • Mr. Roger Clegg, President and General Counsel, Center for Equal Opportunity
  • Moderator: Prof. Jeffrey Rosen, George Washington University Law School, and President and Chief Executive Officer, National Constitution Center

[Listen now!]