SHELBY COUNTY V. HOLDER (U.S. SUPREME COURT, 2013)

This case is a second challenge to the constitutionality of Congress’ 2006 decision to extend Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act for an additional 25 years. In 2009, in Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District v. Holder, the United States Supreme Court declined to rule on the constitutionality of the VRA extension, finding instead that Northwest Austin was entitled to “bail out” of the requirements of Section 5. This case places squarely before the Court the question of whether the extension was constitutional. ADL once again joined with the nearly 200 organizations that comprise the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and urged the Court to uphold the VRA extension, arguing that it was reasonable for Congress to conclude that Section 5 is still necessary, and that history shows that gains in minority political participation can be reversed if the political branches and the courts fail vigilantly to protect them.