Democrats Have Stronger Proposal to Amend Voting Rights Act, But Huge Obstacles to Enacting It

…is new formula would initially cover thirteen states: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. (The VRAA of 2014 covered only Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.) Coverage would last for a ten-year period. Berman reports the bill will have other significant provisions, including nationwide precelarance for certain changes, such as enactme…

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“Advocacy Groups Tell Lawmakers To Back Off”

…across ideological lines — are telling congressional investigators to back off in a probe of EPA ties to a leading environmental group, the Natural Resources Defense Council. Republican Rep. Darrell Issa of California and Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana are leading the investigation. They contend that NRDC lobbyists have exerted too much influence over EPA on the issues of carbon reduction and the proposed Pebble Mine at Bristol Bay, Alaska….

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Election Law and Legislation at the AALS Annual Meeting

…Tax Review) Ellen P. Aprill, Loyola Law School James J. Fishman, Pace University School of Law Philip Hackney, Louisiana State University, Paul M. Hebert Law Center Terri L. Helge, Texas A&M University School of Law Donald B. Tobin, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law & Daniel P. Tokaji, The Ohio State University, Moritz College of Law Moderator: Mr. Marcus S. Owens, Caplin & Drysdale, Chartered Sunday, January 4,…

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“A Crowded GOP Field for 2016 Encounters Donors Reluctant to Commit Early”

…and Cruz are also competing for the backing of wealthy evangelical Christians, as are Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee. Despite the appeals, which have stepped up in recent weeks, many top donors have committed to being noncommittal, wary of fueling the kind of costly and politically damaging battle that dominated the 2012 primaries. Senior party fundraisers believe that most campaig…

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Ted Cruz Sends Out Fundraising Email Suggesting Pets and Dead People Will Vote in #LASEN Election

…day’s elections, we all want to take a deep breath, relax, and celebrate. But we have one last fight. The Louisiana Senate race has gone to a runoff, and we must win that seat to prevent President Obama from having another far-left vote. Please read the note below from the Chairman of the Louisiana Republican Party today. He lays out the unique circumstances at play in this Senate race, and why you should invest in this final battle of 2014…

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“Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Partially Upholds Challenge to Louisiana’s Administration of National Voter Registration Act”

…ott, et al. v. Schedler, et al., issued a ruling partially upholding a district court’s ruling after trial that Louisiana violated the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) by failing to properly provide voter registration services to its public assistance clients. Plaintiffs in the case, represented by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc., (LDF); Project Vote; Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP; and Louisiana attorney…

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“New Outside Groups Prove Worth to Conservative Donors”

…leven Senate races. Koch groups appeared to be the biggest outside spenders on television in Arkansas, Iowa and Louisiana, airing a combined $25 million in ads. Republican candidates won Arkansas and Iowa, and the party’s candidate is favored to win a coming runoff in Louisiana. American Crossroads and its affiliated nonprofit group spent $50 million on political advertising, and at least $20 million more on so-called issue ads, a spokesman said….

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“Could New Voting Restriction Determine Control of the Senate?”

…. The latest polling suggests that it will come down to eight states:  Alaska, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, New Hampshire, and North Carolina.   Republicans will control the Senate if they prevail in four or more of these states, while Democrats need at least five to maintain control.* Of the eight states in play, four have seen litigation over voting rules or practices this year: North Carolina, Georgia, Kansas, and Iowa.  All of…

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Nudging in the Right Direction: A Response to Bob Bauer

…scrutiny.  There’s a great example from a voting-rights case decided during the 1960s.  The Court invalidated a Louisiana law requiring that the photos of candidates appear on the ballot, recognizing it as a patent effort to invite voters to discriminate on the basis of race.  We’re especially grateful that Bauer has pushed on this point rather than let us simply invoke truth as a constitutional shield.  His prodding has made us think harder and…

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“Attacks on abortion, voting, follow similar paths”

…legislatures in 2010: Voter ID laws were passed in states like Texas, North Carolina, and Wisconsin, along with cuts to early voting in several more. Medically unnecessary restrictions have also been placed on abortion clinics in all three of those states, and similar laws threaten to close clinics in Louisiana, Alabama and Oklahoma. Many of the laws intentionally push the legal envelope, and are now wending their way through the federal courts….

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“Wall Street Campaign-Cash Restrictions Face Legal Attack”

…or state or federal elections. Having Christie on the ticket would have complicated Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, which took in more money from securities and investment firms than any other industry. Now, with governors including Christie, Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana contemplating a White House run in 2016, two state Republican committees have filed a lawsuit to overturn the regulation. Read the complaint….

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“FairVote Proposes Solutions to Florida’s Congressional Redistricting Dilemma in 2014″

FairVote wants to use multimember districts even though those aren’t allowed under a federal statute. “Although one of the remedies conflicts with federal law, there is precedent from Louisiana in 2008 for state action overriding federal law involving congressional elections.”…

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“New Report Shows Continued Pattern of Voting Rights Discrimination—African American, Latino, Asian American and Native American Voters More Vulnerable Than Ever”

…evel of documented voting discrimination, including multiple state-level violations. And the States of Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina were not far behind. From this report, we can also see that voting discrimination takes a variety of forms. Discriminatory redistricting plans and at-large elections continue to prompt the most successful lawsuits under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. However, there were also 48 successful l…

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Time to Loosen Campaign Finance Restrictions in Louisiana?

Gannett editorial: In a rare show of solidarity, the leaders of the Democratic Party of Louisiana and the Republican Party of Louisiana have joined forces in an effort to loosen restrictive campaign finance laws. And well they should. The campaign finance laws at the state and federal levels were created with the intention of reducing the possibility of corruption. They were also intended to ensure that all candidates had a fair shot at being el…

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After McCutcheon, New RNC Challenge to Soft Money Rules

…thing the FEC has prohibited. “We think this will put the final nail in the coffin of the McCain-Feingold law,” Louisiana Republican Party Chairman Roger Villere said in an interview. “If we win this suit against the federal government, it will allow our national committee and our state parties to have some freedom not to be constrained by campaign finance rules that hold back us but not the Democrats,” he said. Republicans have long complained t…

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“Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon resigns after arrest on corruption charges”

…s, Cannon put the bills to his ear, then fanned them. The next day, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was indicted in Louisiana on bribery and money laundering charges. After the news broke, Cannon called the the undercover agent and tried to characterize his acceptance of the money as a business investment unrelated to his public office, the affidavit says. In laying out his philosophy as a public official, Cannon told the agent that he would have hel…

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NAACP LDF Suit in Louisiana Seeks Voting Rights Act Bail-In

Press release: LDF and cooperating Louisiana attorney, Ronald L. Wilson, filed a challenge under the Voting Rights Act and the U. S. Constitution to Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana’s 32nd Judicial District Court. A Black candidate has never been elected as a judge on this parish court. A sitting judge on the court has been suspended for wearing blackface, an orange prison jumpsuit, handcuffs, and an afro wig to a Halloween party as part of his offe…

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“Can Three Lawmakers Revive the Voting Rights Act After the Supreme Court Trashed It?”

…mula might satisfy Justice Roberts, but it would put four deep-red states back into preclearance jail: Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. And what would Republicans get in return? They seem to have given up entirely on appealing to non-white voters, so there’s nothing for them there. And while it’s one thing to feel obliged to vote in favor of renewing a historic law that’s currently on the books, as most Republicans di…

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New Proposed VRA Would Subject to Preclearance GA, LA, MS [corrected], and TX with More Possibly to Come, and Make Bail In Much Easier

…have to submit future election changes for federal approval. This new formula would currently apply to Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Local jurisdictions would be covered if they commit three or more violations or have one violation and “persistent, extremely low minority turnout” over the past fifteen years. The formula is based on a rolling calendar, updated with a current fifteen-year time period to exempt states who are no longer…

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“Understanding Online Voter Registration”

…13 states that offered online voter registration at that time: Arizona, California, Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Nevada, New York, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, and Washington. This brief provides a summary of the survey’s major findings in five areas—cost, implementation, voter convenience, system management, and online security—and then examines ways in which these states would like to improve online voter registration. Rese…

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How Washington Works Dept.

NYT: Now they are happy to hand the Finance Committee gavel to Senator Ron Wyden, the mercurial Oregonian who currently leads the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, because it puts Senator Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana, one of the most endangered Democrats up for re-election in 2014, at the energy helm — a position that will help her campaign rake in cash from industry and press her pro-oil politics in her fossil-fueled state….

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True the Vote Calls Those Supporting Expansion of Voter Registration Opportunities Through NVRA “Super Bullies”

…ncil of La Raza v. Miller (Nevada) Fair Elections Ohio v. Husted (Ohio) Scott, Project Vote, NAACP v. Schedler (Louisiana)  Project Vote v. Texas Often, it only takes one person to stand up to a bully, but what about a bully backed by billions, with the best lawyers in the country and tremendous (albeit, misplaced) public support? Litigation that will challenge the narrative of voter suppression is crucial at this juncture in history. When the DO…

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Election Law Journal 12:3 — Responses to Shelby County

…it Community Can, by Edward B. Foley Book Review African American Legislators and Substantive Representation in Louisiana, by Richard L. Engstrom (reviewing Jas M. Sullivan and Jonathan Winburn, The Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus: Race and Representation in the Pelican State) The winter issue (12:4), due out in December, will feature papers on Deliberative Democracy from a conference at NYU in the spring, organized by Ron Levy and our Interna…

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VRA Preclearance (A Response to Pildes/Tokaji, pt. 1)

…you’ll see is that eight of the States that were fully covered by Section 5 (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas) and one of the State’s that was covered in substantial part by Section 5 (North Carolina) are now strongly Republican—meaning Republicans control all the levers of state government.  While I couldn’t easily locate a map of what the makeup of the States was in 2000, off the top of my head, I…

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Literacy tests from the 60s

…f literacy tests.  As the Slate snippet notes, many of the literacy tests were ostensibly connected to civics, but I’m particularly intrigued by Louisiana’s mind-teaser version. (The originals, it always bears repeating, were tools of disenfranchisement rather than “mind-teasers.”  I do not mean to belittle the gravity of their deployment by the description.  And no, they’re not coming back after Shelby County .)…

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Prop 8 and the Possible DIG: Evidence From This Week That It’s Possible.

…d not have four Justices voting against a DIG.  Yet that’s precisely what happened this week in Boyer. v. Louisiana, a case involving a speedy trial.  As Rory Little explains, “four of the [Justices] dissented from the [DIG] order at length (Justice Sotomayor, joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, and Kagan), while another three (Justice Alito concurring in the order, joined by Justices Scalia and Thomas) expressed their supportive rat…

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“DOJ Responds to Vitter on Voting Issue That Could Hinder Perez Nomination”

Roll Call: “The Justice Department responded Friday to Sen. David Vitter’s request for more information about its enforcement of a federal voter registration law — a response the Louisiana Republican demanded before deciding whether to drop his threat to block the nomination of Thomas Perez as the next Labor secretary.”…

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“FEC Deadlocks Over ‘Willful’ Finding In Case of La. Contractor Contributions”

Bloomberg BNA: ” The Federal Election Commission deadlocked along party lines regarding whether a Louisiana contractor committed “knowing and willful” violations of campaign finance laws by funneling illegal contributions to the campaign of Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), according to documents in a newly released FEC enforcement case (Matter Under Review 6623).”…

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“Federal Court Rules Louisiana Systematically Violates the NVRA”

Project Vote: “On January 23, voting rights advocates won a major legal victory on behalf of Louisiana’s public assistance agency clients, the state’s most vulnerable and most marginalized residents. In a 36-page ruling, following a trial in October 2012 in the United States District Court in the Eastern District of Louisiana, Judge Jane Triche Milazzo found that the state of Louisiana violated federal law by failing to offer an opportunit…

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The Court and the Constitutionality of Section 5 of the VRA

…concretely, the question is whether, if unique voting-rights problems continue to infect Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas (if recent three-judge court decisions involving Texas are upheld) but not Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia, for example, is that sufficient to uphold the constitutionality of Section 5, as (2) would suggest? Or can Congress apply Section 5 only in the former states – if these are the only places where these ac…

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“State seeks review of ruling on La. Supreme Court Justice Bernette Johnson”

AP: “The State of Louisiana is appealing a judge’s ruling that Louisiana Supreme Court Justice Bernette Johnson has the seniority that entitles her to become the court’s next chief justice. Friday’s court filing by a lawyer representing Gov. Bobby Jindal‘s office asked the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to review U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan’s ruling. Morgan sided with Johnson’s bid to become the…

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“LDF and Project Vote Win Important Legal Victory for Public Assistance Recipients in Louisiana”

Press release: “Yesterday, voting rights advocates won an important legal victory that will ensure that Louisiana’s public assistance agency clients—the state’s poorest and most marginalized residents—will be offered an opportunity to register to vote. In a forceful decision, a federal judge ruled in favor of the Louisiana State Conference of the NAACP that Section 7 of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA) requires that all p…

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“High court turns down Louisiana bid on Census”

AP reports.  From my earlier coverage: Louisiana Files Original Suit in SCOTUS Claiming Illegals Should Not Count for Apportionment Purposes Posted on November 16, 2011 1:16 pm by Rick Hasen Lyle Denniston reports for SCOTUSBlog on this new petition.  Justin Levitt: “New LA # redistricting suit (http://redistricting.lls.edu/cases.php) will lose, and lose badly, for lots of different reasons.” How appealing will be an argument to a bunch of origi…

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Bagenstos Responds to Oremus Slate Piece on Voting Rights Act

…8220;battles.”  But what’s the evidence?  That the Department precleared redistrictings in Georgia, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Virginia.  Nowhere in Oremus’s piece, though, do we see any argument that these redistrictings actually violated Section 5 — that is, that they were adopted with a discriminatory purpose or had a retrogressive effect.  All we see in the piece is that these redistrictings were harmful to the int…

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“The Virtual Reality of ‘One-Person, One-Vote’”

Kirsten Nussbaumer: “In Louisiana v. Bryson, the state of Louisiana has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to exclude so-called “non-immigrant foreign nationals” from the federal census count for purposes of interstate apportionment of congressional representatives.  If Louisiana has a shot, this would be an important case.”…

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Louisiana Files Original Suit in SCOTUS Claiming Illegals Should Not Count for Apportionment Purposes

Lyle Denniston reports for SCOTUSBlog on this new petition.  Justin Levitt: “New LA # redistricting suit (http://redistricting.lls.edu/cases.php) will lose, and lose badly, for lots of different reasons.” How appealing will be an argument to a bunch of originalists/textualists that the term “persons” in the Constitution does not include all people, and in fact excludes non-legal residents?…

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Turning to D.D.C. for preclearance

…ould just add to the burden on DOJ, and thereby slow the preclearance process down rather than speed it up, but Louisiana and Virginia have thus far found it a useful means to make a political point. I’ve got a brief summary on the preclearance process, with links to other useful resources (including LDF’s extremely useful guide to section 5, and the Lawyers’ Committee’s extraordinary database of preclearance objection let…

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