In 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear argument on a case involving Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act—the strongest remaining federal statutory protection against racial discrimination in voting.
Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act prohibits any voting law or procedure that “results in a denial or abridgement of the right of any citizen . . . to vote on account of race or color.” Plaintiffs challenging a state’s election law or policy under Section 2 must demonstrate that the challenged law “results in” the disparate impact, and that the disparate impact occurs “on account of” race, color, or membership in a language minority group.
In 2016, several groups affiliated with the Democratic Party, including the Democratic National Committee, sued the State of Arizona challenging Arizona’s policy that ballots cast in the wrong precinct must not be counted and its prohibition on the collection of absentee ballots by third parties. After numerous hearings and proceedings at both the District Court and Circuit Court levels, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, ultimately concluded that Arizona’s out-of-precinct policy and ballot-collection prohibition violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, finding that the laws resulted in a racially disparate impact on Arizona’s Latino and Native American voters.
CLC filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 20, 2021, arguing that the Ninth Circuit applied the appropriate standards when it determined that Arizona’s election laws violated Section 2, and that those standards underscore that Section 2 is a rightful exercise of Congress’s authority to enforce the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments.