Preclearance Without Statutory Change: Bail-In Suits Post-Shelby County

Michael Ellement


July 1, 2013

Yale Law & Policy Review Online (Inter Alia), Vol. 32, Forthcoming

This short piece analyzes the potential for bail-in suits under Section 3 of the Voting Rights Act, following the Supreme Court's decision in Shelby County v. Holder. The bail-in process allows a court, upon finding a voting rights violation of the Fourteenth or Fifteenth amendments, to impose a system similar to the Section 5 preclearance structure on offending states. This piece argues that voting rights advocates should be cautiously optimistic that Section 3 can fill the void left by the Court's decision to strike down the Section 4 preclearance formula. It contends the bail-in provision is superior to other statutory and policy alternatives for a number of reasons, namely that it satisfies the constitutional requirements laid out by the Shelby County Court for supervisory voting legislation; is immediately available (eliminating the need for statutory change); and, if utilized, represents the remedial option closest to the previously enforced Section 5 preclearance structure.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 9

Keywords: voting, voting rights, voting rights act, supreme court, constitution, election law

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Date posted: July 3, 2013 ; Last revised: July 25, 2013

Suggested Citation

Ellement, Michael, Preclearance Without Statutory Change: Bail-In Suits Post-Shelby County (July 1, 2013). Yale Law & Policy Review Online (Inter Alia), Vol. 32, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2288248

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Michael Ellement (Contact Author)
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