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News Posted on February 12, 2013

Professors Chin, Elmendorf among Co-Authors in Supreme Court Voting Rights Act Brief

Professor Gabriel "Jack" Chin and Professor Chris Elmendorf were among the seven legal scholars to contribute to an amici curiae brief submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court with regard to Shelby County v. Holder, the Voting Rights Act case set to be considered during the Court's upcoming term. 

The case concerns Section 5 of the law, which requires state and local governments in regions that have a history of voter discrimination to obtain "preclearance" from the Justice Department or a federal court before making changes that affect voting. It has been challenged by critics who say such requirements are outdated and an infringement of state sovereignty.  The brief argues that the Court should affirm the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia decision upholding Section 5.

Professor Chin organized a group of scholars to participate in the brief and, at the suggestion of California Supreme Court Clinic Director Aimee Feinberg, approached Jeffrey T. Green '88, a partner at Sidley Austin in Washington, D.C., to represent the amici.  The brief argues that Section 5 falls within the authority granted to Congress under the Fourteenth Amendment, Fifteenth Amendment, and Elections Clause to regulate state laws concerning federal elections, and must be upheld.  The Constitution grants a procedural role but not sovereign authority to states with regard to federal elections, the amici also state, and there is no requirement that Congress' power to regulate elections be exercised uniformly across different states. 

Amici Curiae brief: Shelby County v. Holder