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State's Rights, Last Rites, and Voting Rights

38 Pages Posted: 12 Jan 2014 Last revised: 22 Dec 2014

Guy-Uriel E. Charles

Duke University School of Law; Duke Law School

Luis E. Fuentes-Rohwer

Indiana University Maurer School of Law

Date Written: February 15, 2014

Abstract

There are two ways to read the Court's decision in Shelby County, as a minimalist decision and as a decision that has undermined the basic infrastructure of voting rights policy, law, and jurisprudence. In this Essay, we present the case for reading Shelby County as deeply destabilizing. We argue that Shelby County has undermined three assumptions that are foundational to voting rights policy, law, and jurisprudence. First, the Court has generally granted primacy of the federal government over the states. Second, the Court has deferred to Congress particularly where Congress is regulating at the intersection of race and voting. Third, the Court and Congress have understood that racial discrimination is the problem and have operated from a similar conception of what racial discrimination means. Shelby County undermines all three assumptions. We explore what this means for voting rights policy, law, and jurisprudence going forward.

Keywords: Shelby County, voting rights, Voting Rights Act, racial discrimination

Suggested Citation

Charles, Guy-Uriel E. and Fuentes-Rohwer, Luis E., State's Rights, Last Rites, and Voting Rights (February 15, 2014). Indiana Legal Studies Research Paper No. 279. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2377475 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2377475

Guy-Uriel Charles (Contact Author)

Duke Law School ( email )

Science Drive & Towerview Rd
Durham, NC 55455
United States

Duke University School of Law ( email )

Box 90360
Science Drive & Towerview Rd.
Durham, NC 27708
United States

Luis E. Fuentes-Rohwer

Indiana University Maurer School of Law ( email )

211 S. Indiana Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States
812-855-5003 (Phone)
812-855-0555 (Fax)

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