“Bernie Sanders Scored Victories for Years via Legislative Side Doors”

…ely to turn against his party on important votes, he is most proud of the things he has tried, unsuccessfully, to block over the years. And he boasts about them constantly on the campaign trail: the Iraq war, the Wall Street bailout and the Patriot Actafter the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. But in spite of persistent carping that Mr. Sanders is nothing but a quixotic crusader — during their first debate, Hillary Clinton cracked, “I’m a…

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“Savior Through Severance: A Litigation-Based Response to Shelby County v. Holder”

…rogram would strengthen the legitimacy of our federal election system and increase voter confidence in the accuracy of results. In addition to these benefits, retaining the federal observer program would preserve standing in bailout proceedings. This result is crucial, as the bailout mechanism provides covered jurisdictions with an incentive to eliminate practices that deny or abridge minority political participation and affords them the…

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VRA Preclearance (A Response to Pildes/Tokaji, pt. 2)

…tion 5 has the most utility. For what it’s worth, there is much in Rick P. and Dan’s post that is helpful.  I disagree with some of their points (given the history of covered jurisdictions and the availability of bailout, section 5 was never purely about disparate impact alone: there’s good reason to be more suspicious of policies with a disparate impact in Texas than in Wisconsin).  And I heartily agree with others (it is…

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Could Justice Ginsburg Really Have Believed Congress Would Fix the VRA in 2009?

…allowing civil-rights groups to “opt in” to the Voting Rights Act to creating a national right to vote, from requiring local officials to consider the impact of their decisions on participation rates to proactive bailout. Many of these proposals draw on conversations begun at a conference hosted by the Tobin Project and the American Law Institute on elections research and reform in February 2009 or build upon work done for the…

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“New Voting Rights Law Hinges on Some Less-Visible Republicans”

…awkins says it may be up to Reps. Sensenbrenner and Westmoreland in the House. Rep. Westmoreland and I were strange bedfellows during the 2006 reauthorization, when the conservative Republican lawmaker offered the pro-active bailout amendment I was pushing to help save section 5.  The amendment went down to defeat, as Westmoreland knew it would, and he voted ultimately against the 2006 reauthorization. The House hearing is happening now….

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“Shelby County and the Illusion of Minimalism”

…ing much more than calling balls and strikes and applying settled precedent to uncontested facts. Shelby County is an audacious opinion which ignores history, declines to engage the dissent’s powerful argument that the VRA’s bailout provisions solve any constitutional problem, and rejects the Roberts Court’s stated commitment to judicial minimalism in its treatment of facial challenges and severability. It pretends it is not overturning section…

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Reactions to Shelby County: Morgan Kousser

I’ve tried to make the case that the very process of bailout established a continuing connection between current conditions and the 2006 formula for section 4.  Here, Morgan Kousser presents one of the alternative continuing connections, with detailed data showing the incidence of voting rights actions and the (formerly) covered jurisdictions.  And he pulls it all together as only Morgan can: The Supreme Court’s Shelby County v. Holder…

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“JUSTICE DEPARTMENT REACHES AGREEMENT WITH CALIFORNIA SPECIAL DISTRICT ON BAILOUT UNDER THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT”

…ail out,” or remove itself from such coverage, and therefore be exempted from the preclearance requirements, by seeking a declaratory judgment before a three-judge panel in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. A bailout judgment can be issued only if the court determines that the jurisdiction meets certain eligibility requirements for bailout contained in the statute, including a 10-year record of nondiscrimination in voting-related…

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“Justice Anthony Kennedy and Shelby County”

…overnments 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…

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“More Bailouts of Covered Jurisdictions Moving Forward as Supreme Court Weighs Voting Rights Act”

CLC: “This week more jurisdictions moved forward with bailouts from the preclearance provisions of the Voting Rights Act as the Supreme Court weighs a challenge to the constitutionality of those provisions.  Yesterday, a three-judge court in Washington, DC approved a final consent decree exempting the City of Wheatland, California from the Act’s preclearance provisions.  On the same day, the Justice Department announced that it had…

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“Regional Differences in Racial Polarization in the 2012 Presidential Election: Implications for the Constitutionality of Section 5 the Voting Rights Act”

…ge by finding persistent dangers to voting rights in covered areas alone. The coverage formula, from its inception, has always been over and underinclusive of the jurisdictions of concern. Overinclusivity is addressed by the bailout provision, which allows “good” jurisdictions to escape coverage when they can demonstrate a clean voting rights record. So long as the coverage-formula-plus-bailout regime represents a rational attempt to address the…

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“U.S. Supreme Court Poised To Determine Constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act; Merced County Files Amicus Brief Defending Its Bailout From Section 5 Coverage.”

…12, after more than two years of investigation, the United States Attorney General found that Merced County met the criteria, and consented to Merced County’s bailout. Marguerite and Chris represented the County in the bailout action.  The bailout also had coattails, freeing more than 80 cities, school districts and special districts with territory in the County from the need to comply with Section 5’s preclearance obligation. …

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“New Hampshire and Justice Department Reach First State Bailout Agreement”

…cize the proposed settlement.  Campaign Legal Center Executive Director J. Gerald Hebert serves as legal counsel to the State of New Hampshire in his capacity as a solo practitioner.  New Hampshire becomes the first state to bailout since Congress changed the bailout requirements under the Voting Rights Act in 1982. To read the joint motion to enter consent judgment and decree, click here. To read the proposed consent judgment and decree, click…

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“Response by Merced County’s Section 5 Lawyers to J. Christian Adams’s Article”

…re was no “collusion” of any sort.  At the time it sought Attorney General Holder’s consent, the County had been victorious in the Lopez litigation, was in full compliance with its preclearance obligations, and satisfied the bailout requirements.  The County worked for over ten years to qualify for bailout before even contacting the Attorney General.  Even then, it took two more years to convince the Attorney General to consent. We have been…

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Section 5 Opponents to Argue that DOJ Breaking Bailout Rules in Order to Save the Constitutionality of Voting Rights Act section 5

…I expect this argument to get a lot of play. The great irony here, for those who don’t follow this issue closely, is that you have people who oppose section 5 of the VRA complaining that DOJ is making it too easy for those jurisdictions subject to its preclearance provision to escape from the Act’s coverage. UPDATE: Adams says he’s not an opponent of section 5….

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“Communities Find Relief From Voting Rights Act”

…rights cases as the Justice Department’s point man enforcing the Voting Rights Act. Now, he helps governments gain release from the law’s central mandate.  In election law circles, he’s known as the “Bailout King.” No lawyer has guided more counties and cities with a history of voter discrimination to “bail out” from federal oversight of their local elections. Hebert’s prolific work was cited in a…

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Was Chief Justice Roberts Most Unprincipled in Applying the Doctrine of Constitutional Avoidance in the Health Care Case, in NAMUDNO (the Voting Rights Act Case) or in Citizens United?

…lude any other subdivision of the state which conducts registration for voting.” “As a result, [under the pre-1982 version of section 4(a) of the VRA] only political subdivisions separately designated for coverage could seek bailout. So, for example, Texas could seek bailout as a covered state …. But political *199 subdivisions within covered states–such as Travis County, in which the District is located–could not apply for…

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“Googling the Future of the Voting Rights Act”

…220;coverage formula” for determining which jurisdictions are subject to Section 5 continues to be based on election returns from the 1970s and state practices in the 1960s and 1970s. Nor did Congress update the “bailout provisions,” which determine whether a jurisdiction may escape from Section 5’s coverage. Defenders of Section 5 argue that the coverage formula is constitutionally adequate because it captures most of…

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Breaking News: Divided D.C. Circuit Panel Upholds Constitutionality of Voting Rights Act, Teeing Up Issue for Supreme Court

…rimination in voting on the basis of race to justify different treatment under the law.  It also relied heavily on the increasing number of jurisdictions “bailing out” from section 5 coverage—this increased bailout activity seems to have been orchestrated directly to allow courts to make this determination.  The majority concludes by noting that it is deferring, although the “legislative record is by no means…

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Federal District Court Calls Out Supreme Court on Its Shoddy Statutory Interpretation of the VRA in the NAMUDNO Case

…rt, 2009 SUP. CT. REV. 181 (2009); see also Ellen Katz, From Bush v. Gore to NAMUDNO:-A Response to Professor Amar, 61 FLA. L. REV. 991, 992-93 (2009) (describing the Court’s “statutory construction” of the bailout provision in Nw. Austin II as “contrived”), Justice Roberts, writing for an eight-justice majority, sidestepped the “big question” of Section 5’s constitutionality by instead resolving…

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“Local Governments Continue to Pursue and Receive Voting Rights Act ‘Bailouts'”

…ar, the following local jurisdictions have bailed out: Jefferson County (TX) Drainage District no. 7; Alta (CA) Irrigation District; the City of Manassas Park, VA, and Rappahannock County, VA. Currently, there are five other bailouts pending before the DC Court, all of which have reached agreement with the United States Attorney General that the local government has met all of the bailout criteria. These include the City of Bedford, VA; Bedford…

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Court Denies Government Discovery Request in Shelby County VRA Case

You can read the Court’s order here. Among other things, the DOJ wanted to determine whether Shelby County is eligible for bailout. But Shelby County does not want bailout. So the case is moving directly to summary judgment on the question whether Congress’s extension of the VRA section 5 for another 25 years exceeded congressional power, the issue left undecided in NAMUDNO. Briefing on the summary judgment motion should be complete…

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“Partisan Gerrymandering as a Safeguard of Federalism”

…se, states can create politically homogenous districts and send an ideologically cohesive House delegation to Congress in order to influence federal policy in ways favorable to their interests. Given the controversy over the bailout, the stimulus package, and “Obamacare,” the states’ redistricting authority remains one of the few historical and textually-based vestiges of power that states can use to influence federal policy….

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