Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One ("NAMUDNO") v. Holder
At a Glance
About this Case
A small utility district near Austin unsuccessfully challenged the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which required the Department of Justice or the United States District Court for D.C. to approve all voting changes in certain jurisdictions before those changes could go into effect. After a three-judge district court upheld Section 5’s constitutionality, the United States Supreme Court, by a vote of 8-1, avoided the constitutional issue entirely, holding instead as a matter of statutory interpretation that the utility district was eligible to escape (“bail out”) from the requirements of Section 5. Although leaving the constitutional issue for another day, the Court did express strong reservations about the continued constitutionality of Section 5, particularly given its applicability to some jurisdictions but not others.