The Constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act to be Reviewed by the Supreme Court?

Free Speech & Election Law Practice Group and Civil Rights Practice Group Teleforum
Start : Thursday, November 01, 2012 02:00 PM
End : Thursday, November 01, 2012 03:00 PM

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Conference Call

Featured Speakers:
Luis Fuentes-Rohwer
Ilya Shapiro
Michael R. Dimino


The Constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act to be Reviewed by the Supreme Court?The Voting Rights Act of 1965 imposes a "preclearance" obligation on certain "covered jurisdictions" - states or parts of states – whose election laws may not be changed without advance approval from the Justice Department or the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. The covered jurisdictions include those areas that required voters to pass tests (such as literacy tests) in 1964 and which had less than 50% voter registration or turnout in the 1964, 1968, or 1972 elections. The preclearance provision was upheld by the Supreme Court in South Carolina v. Katzenbach, 383 U.S. 301 (1966).

Following Congress's 2006 reauthorization of the VRA, critics claim that times have changed so significantly that it is unconstitutional for Congress to base its coverage formula on voting data from forty years ago. The Supreme Court avoided the issue in Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One v. Holder, 129 S. Ct. 2504 (2009), but the issue is back in a case in which certiorari is now pending, Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder.


  • Prof. Luis Fuentes-Rohwer, Professor of Law and Harry T. Ice Faculty Fellow, Indiana University Maurer School of Law
  • Mr. Ilya Shapiro, Senior Fellow in Constitutional Studies and Editor-in-Chief of the Cato Supreme Court Review, Cato Institute
  • Moderator: Prof. Michael R. Dimino, Sr., Widner Law

Call begins at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

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