Another Voting Rights Act Bailout as Supreme Court Slated to Rule This Week on Act’s Constitutionality

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Today, a proposed consent judgment and decree was presented to a three-judge court in Washington, DC, granting a Voting Rights Act bailout to Hanover County, Virginia while the Supreme Court could rule as early as tomorrow on the Act’s preclearance provisions. If today’s bailout is approved, Hanover County will add to the growing list of state or local governments to bailout from the preclearance provisions of the Voting Rights Act. Those provisions known as Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act are being challenged in Shelby County v. Holder. 

Critics of Section 5 argued in briefs to the Court that the bailout process is far too arduous and cost-prohibitive. Just within the last six months, states and municipalities from California to New Hampshire have shown that argument to be untrue.

“Bailout after bailout proves that the process is not to arduous nor expensive and that the coverage formula self-tailors, and thus that Section 5 coverage adjusts to current needs required to protect the franchise,” said Campaign Legal Center Executive Director J. Gerald Hebert, who serves as legal counsel for Hanover County and the vast majority of all bailed out jurisdictions in his capacity as a solo practitioner.  “The Voting Rights Act is not a museum piece, it remains a vital safeguard of the right to vote for our nation’s minorities. These bailouts, just like the discriminatory voting practices o that continue to be overturned using Section 5, offer proof that the Voting Rights Act is alive and well and working as Congress intended.”

To read the joint motion to enter consent judgment and decree, click here. To read the proposed consent judgment and decree, click here.

The Campaign Legal Center filed a friend of the Court brief discussing bailout in Shelby County v. Holder.  To read the brief, click here.