Unteachable: Shelby County, Canonical Apostasies, and a Way Forward for the Voting Rights Act
48 Pages Posted: 30 Nov 2013 Last revised: 23 Oct 2014
Date Written: March 31, 2014
In this paper, we analyze the Supreme Court's decision in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, which declared unconstitutional the coverage formula for Section 5 preclearance. We conclude that Shelby County is a radical departure not only from the Supreme Court's Voting Rights Act jurisprudence but also from canons of statutory construction more generally. While the Court's decision has adverse implications for both separation of powers doctrine and minority voting rights, the authors propose an expeditious fix to the coverage formula that would likely pass constitutional muster.
Keywords: Voting Rights Act, Statutory Interpretation, Separation of Powers, federalism, civil rights
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