The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has this report on a new state-court lawsuit in Georgia.
Coverage of yesterday’s decision upholding the extension of Section 5 of the VRA may be found in the Washington Post, NY Times, and Austin American-Statesman. In addition to Rick’s post yesterday, Lyle Denniston offers commentary on SCOTUSBlog, saying the case is “almost certainly headed to the Supreme Court in the summer or fall.”
Bryan Pfaffenberger has this comment on the history of voting equipment, drawing this lesson: “We gave up hand-counted paper ballots (HCPB) for good reason — and resuming their use might be a very bad idea.”
Electionline.org offers this report on voting rights advocates’ allegations that many states aren’t complying with the National Voter Registration Act.
I’m still in London, was out all day, and didn’t have a chance to even see the NAMUDNO opinion until about an hour ago. For what it’s worth, here’s what I wrote on Sept. 12, 2006, when this panel was named:
- This is likely a good draw for defenders of the constitutionality of section 5. But I don’t think the lower court opinion is going to matter very much, however it comes out. This issue—either in this case or one of the others being filed—will be resolved when the Supreme Court resolves it.
Having looked quickly today at the opinion, I’d say that this is about the best that supporters of the law could have hoped for. Here’s a well-written and well-reasoned opinion, arguing in the alternative, relying on stare decisis, careful parsing of cases, and the best presentation of the evidence that could be made on this record.
Having said that, I have a hard time believing it would convince someone like Chief Justice Roberts. What could be convincing to him, however, is the political fallout that would come from a decision striking down the VRA. On the third hand, let’s not forget what Justices Stevens wrote this week about the necessity of the VRA in his Riley dissent. For my own pre-NAMUDNO take on the constitutional issues, see this article. (Statistics from the article, cited in my testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on VRA renewal, are discussed in the court’s opinion.)
I wonder too whether the Court will want to take advantage of some technical reason (such as standing or the facial/as applied challenge issue) to duck the question in this case and put it over to a future case.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has rejected a constitutional challenge to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, as reauthorized and extended in 2006. The unanimous opinion in Northwest Austin Municipal Utlity District Number One v. Mukasey, authored by Judge David Tatel, may be found here. Early coverage may be found here.
Rick Hills has this very interesting post on Riley v. Kennedy, arguing that the “larger moral” in the case is that “[t]he feds should be extra-cautious about messing with state and local governments’ structure.”
The Christian Science Monitor has this report on tomorrow’s meeting of the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee, which it calls “the most delicate moment of the entire primary season.” For more, see today’s stories in the Detroit Free Press, LA Times, Real Clear Politics, Salon, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal.
The AP offers this report on how the Obama campaign’s mastery of the arcane delegate-selection rules helped secure his front-runner status.
New EAC Chair Rosemary Rodriguez yesterday issued this statement of policy on public meetings. Here’s the key portion, which goes beyond the requirements of the Sunshine Act: “During my term as Chair, I will require the EAC to make its agenda public at least 21 days before the next regularly scheduled meeting. Additionally, I will schedule time during each meeting to discuss possible agenda items with Commissioners so that observers will have an idea of what to expect in remaining months.”
Wired News reports here.
Janai Nelson of St. John’s School of Law has this post on the Supreme Court’s decision earlier this week in Riley v. Kennedy. She says: “Despite its highly technical facts and likely narrow application, Riley is significant because it limits the reach of an integral provision of one of the most transformative civil rights statutes and bodies of American election law—the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA)…. More important, the Riley decision comes at a precarious time for Section 5 of the VRA as Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District v. Mukasey (NAMUDNO), a Texas case that challenges the constitutionality of Section 5 as a whole, will soon be poised for Supreme Court review.”
And the winners are: Illinois, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. For more on this much-needed project to improve the collection of election administration data, see this description from the EAC, as well as this post describing the proposal as it was going through Congress.
In what’s surely a coincidence, four of the five states receiving grants are ones that my Moritz colleagues and I profiled in our report last year: From Registration to Recounts: The Election Ecosystems of Five Midwestern States. Does the EAC think there’s a special need for better information from the Midwest?