The Voting Rights Act Is In Jeopardy, But It Shouldn’t Be: A Close Look at Shelby County v. Holder

Author(s): 
David H. Gans and Elizabeth B. Wydra
Publication Date: 
February 14, 2013

ACS is pleased to distribute “The Voting Rights Act Is In Jeopardy, But It Shouldn’t Be: A Close Look at Shelby County v. Holder,” an Issue Brief by David H. Gans, Director of the Human Rights, Civil Rights, and Citizenship Program at the Constitutional Accountability Center, and Elizabeth Wydra, Chief Counsel at the Constitutional Accountability Center.

In the Issue Brief, Gans and Wydra point out that “the Framers of the Civil War Amendments, including the Fifteenth Amendment, chose broad, sweeping language conferring on Congress the power to enforce the new constitutional guarantees of liberty, equality, and the right to vote free from racial discrimination by all appropriate legislation.’” The authors explain that “the preclearance requirement contained in Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act seeks to enforce the core purpose of the Fifteenth Amendment, and the nearly unanimous, bipartisan decision of Congress to re-authorize it falls squarely within Congress’s broad power to enforce the Fifteenth Amendment.” 

Gans and Wydra conclude that “If the Supreme Court is faithful to the text of our Constitution, to the sweep of our constitutional history, and to the efforts of generations of men and women to redeem our Constitution’s promise of government of the people, by the people, and for the people,’ it will reaffirm the broad powers of Congress to eliminate the scourge of racial discrimination in voting and uphold the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act.”