New Hampshire Becomes First State to Bailout from Voting Rights Act Preclearance Requirements
Late Friday, a three-judge court in Washington, DC, granted a Voting Rights Act bailout to the State of New Hampshire, marking the first time since the 1982 amendments to the Voting Rights Act took effect that a state has bailed out from preclearance requirements of the Act. The bailout had assumed a higher profile when it was opposed by a conservative group seeking to undermine the defense of the Voting Rights Act before the U.S. Supreme Court in Shelby County v. United States. The court denied the attempt by the Center for Individual Rights to intervene in the case on the grounds that the voter that the Center represented lacked standing.
“New Hampshire’s successful bailout shows that the coverage formula self-tailors, and therefore Section 5 coverage adjusts to current needs,” said Campaign Legal Center Executive Director J. Gerald Hebert, who serves as legal counsel to the State of New Hampshire in his capacity as a solo practitioner. “New Hampshire's successful bailout effectively defeats the 'theory' advanced by Shelby County, Alabama in its pending challenge to the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act that the bailout provisions are illusory or unworkable." Hebert credited state and local officials in New Hampshire for assembling the record that entitled the state and its ten covered towns to bail out.
To read the consent judgment and decree, click here.
The Campaign Legal Center filed a friend of the Court brief in Shelby County v. United States. To read the brief, click here.