• Feb 1, 2013

Civil and Human Rights Groups File Supreme Court Brief in Defense of the Voting Rights Act

We joined the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the coalition that spearheaded the original passage and subsequent reauthorizations of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), and 27 other civil rights groups in filing an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Shelby County v. Holder. The case challenges Section 5 of the VRA, which protects voters from discrimination in jurisdictions with persistent efforts to deny the right to vote based on race or ethnicity.

The brief highlights three key arguments for why the Court should uphold Section 5 of the VRA, a vital tool that protects voters from real attempts at disenfranchisement.

  1. Section 5 continues to provide real protection to real voters: As recent court decisions in South Carolina, Texas, and Florida have shown, without Section 5, there is a real risk that the progress made in the covered jurisdictions since 1965 would be rolled back.
  2. Congress has thoroughly scrutinized the evidence supporting Section 5 of the VRA and determined that voters in covered jurisdictions merit strong protections: The Fifteenth Amendment of the Constitution ensures the right to vote is not denied on account of race or color, and gives Congress the authority to protect this right.
  3. The law is flexible and practical: Jurisdictions that have complied with the Voting Rights Act for 10 years are eligible to have their coverage terminated under the “bail out” provision. Since 1982, every jurisdiction that has sought a bailout has received one.

Read our coalition brief:

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