As someone who has devoted the vast majority of my professional career enforcing the Voting Rights Act, the imminent decision in the Shelby County, Alabama case will be of great interest to me. My perspective is a unique one: I spent over twenty years in the Department of Justice (most of that time enforcing the Voting Rights Act), and I have spent nearly twenty years in private solo practice representing state and local governments who have endeavored to comply with the Voting Rights Act. Moreover, of the approximately 209 state and political subdivisions that have bailed out since the 1982 amendments to the Voting Rights Act liberalized the bailout requirements, I have represented around 95 percent of those jurisdictions.
Of course, I have no idea how the case will come out, but the Campaign Legal Center’s amicus brief in the Shelby County case on behalf of jurisdictions that have bailed out made clear that the Court should not strike down as unconstitutional any provisions of the Voting Rights Act. But ever since oral argument, I have been thinking about Justice Kennedy, who everyone seems to acknowledge will cast the deciding vote one way or the other.