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Constitutional Law Keyed to Farber
Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder
Citation:570 U.S. 529 (2013)
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Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 imposed preclearance requirements on jurisdictions defined in section 4(b), namely, those states or political subdivisions that on November 1, 1964 maintained a test or device that limited voting and had voting levels lower than 50% of the eligible voters in the 1964 election. Congress reauthorized the Act with minimal changes to the section 4(b) coverage formula in 1970 and 1975. In 2006, Congress significantly expanded the section 5 preclearnace restrictions. Shelby County fell under the coverage formula of section 4(b) but objected to preclearance on the ground that this portion of the Voting Rights Act was unconstitutional. Nearly 50 years later, section 5 preclearnace requirements for covered jurisdictions are still in effect; they have been made more stringent. There is no denying, however, that the conditions that originally justified these measures no longer characterize voting in the covered jurisdictions.
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