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Constitutional Law Keyed to Brest
Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder
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*Case Brief Anatomy includes: Brief Prologue, Complete Case Brief, Brief Epilogue
- The Brief Prologue provides necessary case brief introductory information and includes:
- Topic: Identifies the topic of law and where this case fits within your course outline.
- Parties: Identifies the cast of characters involved in the case.
- Procedural Posture & History: Shares the case history with how lower courts have ruled on the matter.
- Case Key Terms, Acts, Doctrines, etc.: A case specific Legal Term Dictionary.
- Case Doctrines, Acts, Statutes, Amendments and Treatises: Identifies and Defines Legal Authority used in this case.
- The Case Brief is the complete case summarized and authored in the traditional Law School I.R.A.C. format. The Pro case brief includes:
- Brief Facts: A Synopsis of the Facts of the case.
- Rule of Law: Identifies the Legal Principle the Court used in deciding the case.
- Facts: What are the factual circumstances that gave rise to the civil or criminal case? What is the relationship of the Parties that are involved in the case. Review the Facts of this case here:
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed in order to address systemic disenfranchisement of black voters. Some of the provisions of the Act only applied to certain jurisdictions with a history of racial discrimination in voting. § 5 of the Act required that covered jurisdictions get federal approval for any changes to their voting procedures. § 4(b) provided the formula for determining which jurisdictions would be subject to § 5’s requirement. The formula defined the covered jurisdictions as those with tests or other measures as prerequisites to voting and low voter registration or turnout in the 1960s or 1970s. The Act was initially intended to last five years, but was continuously renewed. The last renewal of the Act took place in 2006 and reauthorized the Act for 25 years. Despite the repeated renewals, § 4(b)’s coverage formula remained the same—the criteria remained based upon state impediments to voting and low registration or turnout in the 1960s and 1970s. The Supreme Court opinion in Northwest Austin Municipal Util. Dist. No. One v. Holder, 557 U.S. 193 (2009) expressed doubts regarding the Act’s continued constitutionality. Plaintiff, a covered jurisdiction under the Act, then sought a declaratory judgment that §§ 4(b) and 5 are unconstitutional and a permanent injunction against their enforcement. The Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Act, and the Supreme Court granted certiorari.
- Issue(s): Lists the Questions of Law that are raised by the Facts of the case.
- Holding: Shares the Court's answer to the legal questions raised in the issue.
- Concurring / Dissenting Opinions: Includes valuable concurring or dissenting opinions and their key points.
- Reasoning and Analysis: Identifies the chain of argument(s) which led the judges to rule as they did.
- The Brief Prologue closes the case brief with important forward-looking discussion and includes:
- Policy: Identifies the Policy if any that has been established by the case.
- Court Direction: Shares where the Court went from here for this case.