Democrats at DOJ: Why Partisan Use of the Voting Rights Act Might Not Be So Bad After All
Ellen D. Katz
University of Michigan Law School
July 5, 2012
Stanford Law & Policy Review, Forthcoming
U of Michigan Public Law Research Paper No. 280
Partisan use of the Voting Rights Act has long been viewed as distasteful and destructive. This short Essay challenges that view, arguing that VRA claims pursued for partisan advantage can facilitate the statute’s operation in productive ways, at least when the claims at issue are subject to judicial review. The essay, moreover, posits that an unduly narrow conception of the VRA underlies much of the skepticism about partisan use of the statute. I argue that one of the VRA’s most critical, albeit overlooked, functions is its provision of a forum in which to resolve competing views about minority political participation in a majoritarian system. VRA claims seeking partisan advantage make use of this familiar, structured forum and productively highlight its operation.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 17
Keywords: Voting Rights Act, partisanship
JEL Classification: J70, J71, K10, K40, K41Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: July 6, 2012 ; Last revised: August 2, 2012
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