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Defining Race: The Obama Phenomenon and the Voting Rights Act

Saint Johns University School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper Series No. 10-187

10 Pages Posted: 13 Jul 2010  

Janai S. Nelson

St. John's University - School of Law

Date Written: December 14, 2009

Abstract

These published remarks discuss the conflicting implications of President Obama’s electoral success by focusing on the growing number of electoral successes of African-American candidates in at-large elections in majority white - or at least not majority black - contests, and on what these successes might mean for challenges to the path-breaking legislation that helped to set that entire trend in motion: the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The author briefly recounts the modern narrative of Voting Rights Act successes and situates the Obama candidacy along a broader continuum of black elected officials. She then explores the predicted impact of Obama’s success on the continued protection and enforcement of the Voting Rights Act by using two recent federal court challenges as a frame: Bartlett v. Strickland and NAMUDNO v. Holder.

Suggested Citation

Nelson, Janai S., Defining Race: The Obama Phenomenon and the Voting Rights Act (December 14, 2009). Saint Johns University School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper Series No. 10-187. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1639087 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1639087

Janai S. Nelson (Contact Author)

St. John's University - School of Law ( email )

8000 Utopia Parkway
Jamaica, NY 11439
United States

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