Tags: Voting Rights | Shelby County v Holder | Supreme Court | key players

Supreme Court Ruling on Voting Rights Act: Key Players in Landmark Case Shelby County v. Holder

By    |   Sunday, 22 Nov 2015 12:30 AM

In July 2013, the United States Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act in the case Shelby County v. Holder. This Supreme Court ruling on voting rights dramatically changed the way the federal government handles possible discrimination in voting laws.

With 15 states directly affected by the ruling, it can be difficult to keep track of all of the key players. The following states, organizations, agencies, and individuals played crucial roles in this Supreme Court ruling on voting rights.

VOTE NOW: Should Convicted Felons Be Allowed to Vote?

1. The Plaintiff
Shelby County in Alabama filed the initial lawsuit challenging Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act. Alabama was one of the states directly affected by the law, which also applied to all of Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia, and parts of California, Florida, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, and South Dakota. All were required to seek approval before changing voting laws. According to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law some enacted stricter laws after the ruling.

2. The Defendant
The Holder in Shelby County v. Holder refers to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Shelby County sued Holder in Washington, D.C.'s federal district court, according to the Cornell University Law School Legal Information Institute. After the ruling, Holder said he was "deeply disappointed" and the decision was "a serious setback for voting rights," according to a transcript of his remarks posted on the Justice Department website.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) also filed a motion to join the case. On its website, the ACLU noted that it got involved in the case on behalf of both the Alabama State Conference of the NAACP and several African-American residents of Shelby County.

3. The U.S. Supreme Court
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of striking down the law. Chief Justice John G. Roberts wrote the majority opinion. Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel A. Alito also voted that the law was unconstitutional, and Thomas wrote a concurring opinion. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg voted against striking it down and wrote the dissent. Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan voted alongside her.

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In July 2013, the United States Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act in the case Shelby County v. Holder. This Supreme Court ruling on voting rights dramatically changed the way the federal government handles possible discrimination in voting laws.
Shelby County v Holder, Supreme Court, key players
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2015-30-22
Sunday, 22 Nov 2015 12:30 AM
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