SCOTUScast 5-21-09 featuring Sharon Browne

Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One v. Holder

May 21, 2009

Sharon L. Browne

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 SCOTUScast 5-21-09 featuring Sharon Browne - MP3
Running Time: 00:12:45

Bio for Sharone Browne

On Wednesday, April 29, 2009, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One v. Holder. The Supreme Court here considers Congress’s recent extension of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This section of the Voting Rights Act was extended for another 25 years in 2006 and requires covered jurisdictions to obtain preclearance from a federal court or the Department of Justice whenever making any changes to voting regulations. Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One is one of the covered jurisdictions and sued in federal District Court to be bailed out from Section 5 coverage, or, failing that, to challenge the 2006 extension of Section 5 as an unconstitutional exercise of Congress’s remedial powers under the Reconstruction Amendments. The District Court held that the Utility District was ineligible to be bailed out from Section 5 coverage because it was not a local jurisdiction that registered voters and upheld the constitutionality of the extension of Section 5. Per a jurisdictional grant of the Voting Rights Act, the Utility District filed its appeal directly with the Supreme Court, which noted jurisdiction in January and now considers the Utility District’s suit to be bailed out or have Section 5 struck down as unconstitutional. Sharon Browne, a principal attorney at the Pacific Legal Foundation, discusses the case.

 

Oral Argument - April 29, 2009:
http://www.supremecourtus.gov/oral_arguments/argument_transcripts/08-322.pdf

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