“Lawyers’ Committee Expresses Disappointment with U.S. Department of Justice Decision to Terminate Critical Federal Observer Program”

…ection observers to polling sites, based on the their interpretation of the 2013 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder.  The DOJ also issued a Fact Sheet further outlining the decision.  Federal election observers, specially trained individuals with authorization to enter polling locations and review the counting of the votes, have historically played a critical role monitoring elections to ensure that all voters are able to free…

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2016 Election Law Supplement Shipping Aug. 2; Instructors Can Get Electronic Copy Now

…upreme Court’s decisions in McCutcheon v. FEC and other post-Citizens United campaign finance cases, as well as Shelby County v. Holder, which struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act. This year’s supplement covers recent redistricting cases from Alabama, Arizona, Texas, and Virginia, including Evenwel v. Abbott, the latest word on the meaning of one person, one vote. The supplement also considers new developments in voting rights, in…

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Justice Ginsburg Has “Impossible Dream” of Overturning Citizens United Before She Leaves SCOTUS

…17;s Adam Liptak: Asked if there were cases she would like to see the court overturn before she leaves it, she named one. “It won’t happen,” she said. “It would be an impossible dream. But I’d love to see Citizens United overruled.” She mulled whether the court could revisit its 2013 decision in Shelby County v. Holder, which effectively struck down a key part of the Voting Rights Act. She said she did not see how that could be done….

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“Lawyers’ Committee Releases New Report Examining Voting Rights Restrictions Following 2013 Supreme Court Ruling”

Release: Today, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee) released a new report, “Voting Rights Communication Pipelines: Georgia After Shelby County v. Holder” – examining Georgia, one of fourteen states that was subject to protections provided by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, before the 2013 U.S. Supreme Court decision that gutted this key provision in Shelby County v. Holder….

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Verrilli’s Regret

From must-read Adam Liptak exit interview with the outgoing SG: The loss he most regrets, Mr. Verrilli said, was in 2013, in Shelby County v. Holder, which effectively struck down the heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. “There are some powerful real-world consequences that followed very quickly from that decision,” he said. “It was an iconic statute and an important part of American history. That was a tough loss.”…

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“Democracy Diminished: LDF Releases Report on State and Local Threats to Voting Rights Three Years After Landmark Shelby County Decision”

…ional Fund, Inc. (LDF), released a report titled, Democracy Diminished: State and Local Threats to Voting Post- Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder (Shelby County), a detailed collection of state, county, and local voting changes — proposed or implemented — during the past three years since the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder. The Court’s decision in Shelby County eliminated the provision of the Act that for fifty years…

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“Voter Welfare: An Emerging Rule of Reason in Voting Rights Law”

…n jurisdictions that were formerly covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, the Supreme Court’s ruling in Shelby County further compels a new legal approach to these cases. This article begins with the observation that, at least thus far, courts have been remarkably sympathetic to these new claims of voter exclusion, even without precise doctrinal categories for assessing them. Courts have fashioned parallel lines of case authority under th…

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“Inventing Equal Sovereignty”

…eview comes from my new colleague Leah Litman. You will want to read this: The Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Shelby County v. Holder relied on the “fundamental principle” and “historic tradition” of equal sovereignty to hold one of the Voting Rights Act’s key provisions unconstitutional. Yet almost three years after Shelby County, and despite a recent wave of equal sovereignty challenges to major federal programs, the equal sovereignty princip…

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Major New Edition of “The Law of Democracy,” (Issacharoff, Karlan, Pildes, Persily) Available for Fall

…n claims, while adding coverage of Section 2 vote-denial claims. In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder, we have streamlined significantly our coverage of the preclearance regime of Section 5, while preserving the core issues that continue to have current implications. We’ve managed to revise the book without it getting any longer, thereby defying our earlier prediction that casebooks, like people, always gro…

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2016 Supplement for Lowenstein, Hasen, and Tokaji Election Law Casebook Coming in time for Fall Classes

…upreme Court’s decisions in McCutcheon v. FEC and other post-Citizens United campaign finance cases, as well as Shelby County v. Holder, which struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act. This year’s supplement covers recent redistricting cases from Alabama, Arizona, Texas, and Virginia, including Evenwel v. Abbott, the latest word on the meaning of one person, one vote. The supplement also considers new developments in voting rights, in…

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“U.S. judge upholds Virginia voter ID law”

…n here. Virginia’s law is not as strict as some other laws being challenged, and in all of these challenges, the standards for winning are quite difficult for plaintiffs. This is why the loss of Section 5 preclearance thanks to the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Shelby County v. Holder is such a big deal. Any appeal will go to the 4th Circuit, which has already fast-tracked the appeal of North Carolina’s voter id/voting law….

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“Uncovering the Voting Rights Act: The Racial Progress Argument in Shelby County”

…rnal of Law and Public Policy). Here is the abstract: The coverage formula of the Voting Rights Act succumbs in Shelby County v. Holder due to the majority’s narrative of racial progress in America. While they concede that the nation has a tarnished racial history, and is far from perfect, the majority makes a big deal of the fact that “history did not end in 1965.” They rest their novel argument against the coverage formula on the claim that the…

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4th Circuit Panel Which Partially Reversed NC Voting Decision in 2014 Likely to Get Case Back on Appeal

…tion 2.) 4. Looking at the totality of the circumstances, the court concludes the history of the rollback after Shelby County is very relevant here: Immediately after Shelby County, i.e., literally the next day, when “history” without the Voting Rights Act’s preclearance requirements picked up where it left off in 1965, North Carolina rushed to pass House Bill 589, the “full bill” legislative leadership likely knew it could not have gotten past f…

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Breaking: #SCOTUS Unanimously Rejects AZ Redistricting Challenge: Analysis

…ve deviated from perfect equality to comply with Section 5 of the Act, which the Court later gutted in the 2013 Shelby County case. It rejected the idea that because of the later Shelby case, reliance on Section 5 becomes suspect. Finally, the Court rejected the idea that this was a partisan gerrymander, obliquely recognizing the race or party question. Sure it was Democratic districts that were underpopulated, but that was because minority voter…

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“Texas photo ID law stands despite challenges since Supreme Court ruling weakened Voting Rights Act”

…can be to halt potentially discriminatory voting rules in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Shelby County vs. Holder. “This is a perfect illustration of what we lost,” said Jon Greenbaum, chief counsel for the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “We have seven judges who looked at this and all found a violation. Yet the law is still in effect.” The Supreme Court has refused to intervene so far. On the eve of the 2014…

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“Voting Rights Institute Asks Department of Justice to Investigate Daphne, Ala. for Possible Voting Rights Violations”

…type of voting change that would have had to have been precleared by the Department of Justice before the Supreme Court’s disastrous ruling in Shelby County v. Holder,” said Harry Baumgarten, Legal Fellow with the Voting Rights Institute . “In gutting a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, the Supreme Court has opened the door for these potentially discriminatory measures to be passed and implemented throughout the country.”…

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“What if the Supreme Court Were Liberal?”

…Conservatives on the Court long have wanted to limit the scope of congressional power. For example, in 2013, in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, the Court struck down key provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This was the first time since the 19th century that the Court invalidated a federal civil-rights law dealing with race. In many states, it has led to significant new obstacles on the ability of minority voters to participate in elect…

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“Douglas and Mazo’s Election Law Stories”

…g the landmark decisions of Reynolds v. Sims, Bush v. Gore, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, and Shelby County v. Holder. The book relies on a unique encapsulated approach to storytelling, as each of its authors surveys an important doctrinal area in the field through the telling of his or her story. The volume’s thirteen cases concern the right to vote, redistricting and gerrymandering, campaign finance, and election administratio…

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My Thoughts on AZ Long Lines: Incompetence, Not Vote Suppression, and Blame #SCOTUS First

…cut the number of polling places by 2/3 would not have been possible before the Supreme Court decided the 2013 Shelby County v. Holder case because to do so Arizona, which had been covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, would have had to demonstrate (and likely would not have been able to demonstrate) that doing so would not have made protected minority voters in Maricopa County (lots of Latino and Native American voters) worse off.  So…

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“The Right to ‘Mobocracy’”

…ruled that a 1907 congressional ban on corporate contributions to political campaigns was unconstitutional, and Shelby County v. Holder, which overturned Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965—Mr. Waldman uses the word “eviscerated.” Yet Mr. Waldman’s proposed reforms deserve serious consideration. Reforming felon disenfranchisement laws, for example, is supported by figures on the right and the left. Providing for universally available pictu…

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Judge Merrick Garland: A Moderate Liberal on Election Law Issues, With Questions About Boldness

…g they would not make minority voters worse off. The Supreme Court eliminated preclearance the next year in the Shelby County case, and so this precise holding would no longer have direct relevance. Nonetheless, the tone of this opinion is one who takes seriously to protect voting rights. Judge Garland seems much less likely to go out on a limb, however. He was in a majority in a 2-1 per curiam case, Adams v. Clinton (2000),  rejecting D.C. resid…

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ELB Podcast Episode 10. Janai Nelson: Minority Voting Rights in 2016

What has happened to African-American voting rights after the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Shelby County v. Holder? Can the Voting Rights Act still protect minority voting rights in states such as Alabama and Texas? What are the prospects that a new Congress will step in to protect everyone’s right to vote? On Episode 10 of the ELB Podcast, we talk to the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund’s Janai Nelson. You can listen…

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“Alabama’s New Fight for Voting Rights”

…suppression—concerns that have taken on new urgency ahead of the first presidential election since the landmark Shelby decision. And Alabama provides a striking example of post-Shelby uncertainty among civil rights activists. In the nearly three years since the Shelby decision, the state’s implementation of the voter ID law has been something of a saga. In September 2015, for instance, following a budget cut by the Alabama Legislature, the…

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“The Voting Rights Act at 50: The Past, Present, and Future of the Right to Vote”

…he Voting Rights Act Joshua S. Sellers PDF Equal Sovereignty as a Right Against a Remedy Seth Davis PDF Reflections on Justice Thurgood Marshall and Shelby County v. Holder Wendy B. Scott PDF The Forgotten Provision of the Fourteenth Amendment: Section 2 and the Evolution of American Democracy Earl M. Maltz PDF The Necessity of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Difficulty of Overcoming Almost a Century of Voting Discrimination Paul Finkelman…

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“A New Proposal to Address Local Voting Discrimination”

…t the Voting Rights Act today are grappling with doctrinal questions related to the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder. Far fewer are examining the structural apparatus that remains for enforcing federal voting rights. This Article subjects that enforcement apparatus to scrutiny. It finds the remaining means to challenge voting impediments in the post-Shelby County world — (1) individual lawsuits by private citizens, (2) impact-l…

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Breaking: SCOTUS, Without Noted Dissent, Denies Stay in NC Redistricting Case. What Does It Mean?

…e there is time. Now of course virtually none of this would have happened if the Supreme Court had not ruled in Shelby County to strike down the trigger for the preclearance provisions of the VRA. North Carolina would have had to submit any new maps to DOJ, which then could have withheld preclearance if they made protected minority voters worse off. There’s a lot of confusion on the ground, and I expect that the three-judge court will quick…

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Revised Version of Paper on Election Law at the Roberts Court

…didate elections and opened up a deregulatory era increasingly dominated by nominally independent “Super PACs.” Shelby County v. Holder eviscerated the congressional regime codified in Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act under which Congress required states and localities with a history of racial discrimination in voting to obtain federal permission before making a change in voting rules by proving that the change would not make minority voters wo…

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EAC’s Brian Newby Sued for Citizenship Form Decision

…er to vote is an unnecessary barrier, especially for communities of color.” “This is a part of our ongoing post-Shelby election administration monitoring across Georgia,” said Francys Johnson, Statesboro civil rights attorney and Georgia NAACP state president. “This case is illustrious of the insidious tricks, subterfuge, and attacks eviscerating the gains achieved under the VRA and the NVRA. The NAACP will mortgage every asset we have to defend…

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“Virginia Asks Court To Ignore Pre-1965 Discrimination In Voting Rights Case”

…otion said. However, according to UC-Irvine School of Law professor Rick Hasen, who runs Election Law blog, the Shelby County did not rule out the consideration of a state’s discriminatory history outright. “Shelby County tells us obviously you can’t make decisions just based on the past, but it doesn’t make it irrelevant for the purpose of figuring things out,” Hasen told TPM. Indeed, when Congress amended Section 2…

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“Arguments Over North Carolina Voter ID Law Begin in Federal Court”

…s in the wake of the United States Supreme Court decision that, in 2013, upended a significant component of the Voting Rights Act. “The North Carolina litigation is the leading litigation in the post-Shelby world,” said Edward B. Foley, an elections law expert at Ohio State University, referring to the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County, Alabama, v. Holder. “It’s the test case, the battleground case more than any other.”…

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Shelby County, Texas Lose Voting Fee Cases Before the Supreme Court

Today’s Supreme Court order list includes news that Shelby County, Alabama was denied fees in its voting case which got a key part of the Voting Rights Act struck down as unconstitutional. On this case, see my earlier post, Chutzpah Dep’t: Court Rejects Shelby County Plaintiffs’ Request for $2 Million in Attorney’s Fees. Texas also will have to pay lots of plaintiffs’ attorneys fees in a preclearance redistricting case….

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Ed Blum Statement to ELB on Guardian Article: No Regrets about Shelby County

…xpress some second thoughts about how things have worked out since the Surpeme Court decimated Section 5 in the Shelby County case. In response, Ed sends along the following statement: Just because I have concerns about some jurisdictions imposing voting requirements that discourage participation, it does not follow that I have regrets about any of the past or current cases I have helped file. I have no regrets. One of the problems giving intervi…

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Ed Blum’s Regret

…Some of Blum’s cases have had such an impact that even he has been taken aback. Nowhere is that truer than with Shelby County v Holder, a case he sponsored that in 2013 led the supreme court to overturn a key provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Blum told the Guardian he has worried over the fallout from that ruling, which spurred conservative legislators in Texas, North Carolina and elsewhere to revive laws that the Justice Department had pr…

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My Academic Articles 2013-2014

…lican Efforts to Make it Harder to Vote in North Carolina and Elsewhere, 127 Harvard Law Review Forum 58 (2014) Shelby County and the Illusion of Minimalism, 22 William and Mary Bill of Rights J. 713 (2014) Three Wrong Progressive Approaches (and One Right One) to Campaign Finance Reform, 8 Harvard Law & Policy Review 21 (2014) Keynote Address of Prof. Richard L. Hasen Given to the Voting Wars Symposium, March 23, 2013, 28 Journal of Law and…

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“Return of the States”

Ruth Greenwood with a Star Wars-themed election law piece: In the wake of Shelby County v Holder [1] and the hundreds of restrictions on voting rights passed by state legislatures in the last five years,[2] Ben Cady and Tom Glazer’s article, Voters Strike Back,[3] provides a timely and comprehensive review of the causes of action available for voter intimidation. It provides guidance to litigators on how to use these currently underutilized prov…

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ELB Podcast Episode 8. Pam Karlan: Voting Rights In America, 2016

…approach the 2016 elections? Has the loss of a key portion of the Voting Rights Act thanks to the Supreme Court’s Shelby County decision made it harder to register and vote? What tools do voting rights advocates have to fight the latest efforts to restrict access to the ballot? On Episode 8 of the ELB Podcast, we talk to Stanford Law Professor Pam Karlan. You can listen to the ELB Podcast Episode 8 on Soundcloud or subscribe at iTunes….

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“Evenwel v. Abbott: Who Will Count in Our Democracy?”

…. Evenwel is the most recent broad attack on well-settled democratic principles before the Court. Following the Shelby County v. Holder decision, which disabled a key prophylactic provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that warded off racial discrimination in voting,Evenwel seeks to add more tumult to the inherently fraught process of redistricting and depart from longstanding precedent and practice. As an ancillary matter, Evenwel also seeks…

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“Balance Sheet Voting Rights Act 50 years”

…ormation of the Voting Rights Act, 1965-2015 [Full Text] Richard L. Engstrom The Elephant in the Room: NAMUDNO, Shelby County, a nd Racially Polarized votin g [Full Text] Morgan Kousser Do The Facts of Voting Rights Support Chief Justice Roberts’s Opinion in Shelby County? [Full text] Thomas L. Brunell and Whitney Ross Manzo The Voting Rights Act After Shelby County v. Holder: A Potential Fix to Revive Section 5 [Full Text] Laughlin McDonal…

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“Eric Holder on Voting Rights, Black Lives Matter, Karl Rove, and Tupac”

Conversation with Ari Berman. The case that struck down a key part of the Voting Rights Act was called Shelby County v. Holder. You are Holder. Do you think the Administration in retrospect could have done anything differently in arguing that case? No, I don’t think so. I was one of the few people in the department that thought there was no way the Supreme Court was going to go against the record Congress had established. Folks in the Solicitor…

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University of Chicago Legal Forum 2015: Does Election Law Serve the Electorate

…Call for Prophylactic Measures to save Souls to the Polls: Importing a Retrogression Analysis in Sec. 2 of the Voting Rights Act, A Comments Garrett, Ruby J. Page 633 Restricted Subject Matters: Misconceptions of Speech and Ballot Initiatives Does Election Law Serve the Electorate Sandoval, Robert S. Page 669 Treading Carefully after Shelby County: Minority Coalitions under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act Comments Yang, Audrey Page 701…

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Why I’m Optimistic About Evenwel, #SCOTUS One Person, One Vote Case

…view symposium in February, I ask the question why the Roberts Court, despite cases such as Citizens United and Shelby County, has not moved even further to the right as I had predicted when the Roberts Court began in 2006. So I’m somewhat surprised myself that I am not all that worried about what the Court is going to do in the Evenwel v. Abbott one person, one vote case, being heard next week at the Supreme Court. In Evenwel, plaintiffs a…

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“Shelby challenger John Martin accuses fellow rival Jonathan McConnell of urging him to drop out, reimbursing him if he did”

Al.com: One of the candidates looking to unseat U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., in the Republican primary is claiming fellow GOP challenger Jonathan McConnell urged him to drop out of the race and promise to reimburse his expenses if he did so. John Martin, a Dothan former Army Ranger who filed to run in the March 1 primary, posted the allegations earlier this month to Facebook, describing the offer as “illegal.” Alabama Political…

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Floyd Abrams on Campaign Finance, Inequality, Shelby County, and More

Tonight Floyd Abrams gave the Raymond Pryke First Amendment Lecture at UCI Law, and you can watch a video of it here: Most of the lecture consisted of Floyd defending the Supreme Court’s approach to campaign finance cases particularly in Buckley v. Valeo and Citizens United v. FEC. Having just written a book which examines some of Floyd’s arguments in detail, I found many of Floyd’s arguments familiar (well said, and interestin…

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“Attorney General Paxton Asks SCOTUS to Declare Redistricting Attorneys’ Fees Award Unconstitutional Under Shelby County v. Holder”

…n the Voting Rights Act’s unconstitutional preclearance framework, which the Supreme Court nullified in 2013 in Shelby County v. Holder.   “Supreme Court opinions have the binding effect of law the day they are issued,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said. “The lower courts were unjustified in compelling Texas to pay attorneys’ fees under a law that was invalidated as unconstitutional a full year earlier. We are asking the Court to step i…

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“Civil Rights Legal Group Picks New President”

…in criminal justice, voting rights, housing and employment. Clarke, 40, heads the New York AG’s Civil Rights Bureau and previously worked at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division. At the legal defense fund in 2011, she argued in Washington federal district court in the Shelby County, Alabama, voting rights case that eventually went to the U.S. Supreme Court. Congratulations!…

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