A brief description of the case: Shelby County v.
Holder 570 U.S. 2(2013)Shelby County v. Holder1,is a precedent setting U.
S. Supreme Court case concerning the legality and constitutionalityof the Voting Rights Act 1965.In particular the provisions which were underquestion are section 5 and section 4(b).
The former, demanded that specificStates and local governments must attain federal clearance immediately beforeenforcing any amendments or repeals to their relevant voting legal frameworksand practices. The latter and to be specific Section 4(b) enshrines a coverageformula that dictates which jurisdictions are under the preclearance conditionjudged on their particular histories of discrimination more so in relation tovoting.However,on June 25, 2013, the apex Court through a majoritarian decision, 5-to-4 voteto be certain, ruled that Section 4(b) is fundamentally unconstitutional. Therationale for this landmark decision was that the coverage formula used todetermine eligibility, for preclearance purpose, was based on a data which wasmore than 40 years old, thereby deeming it to be unresponsive to the presentsocietal demands. They Judges argued that this, ‘old’ ,data is an indispensableand impermissible burden on the constitutional and legal values of federalismState’s equal sovereignty, although, the Court did not declare invalid Section52,although lack of Section4(b),no State’s jurisdiction can be subject to Section 5’s preclearancecondition, without a new coverage formula being enacted by the Congress.The regulatory action andor/regulatory agency involved in this case and the action it has taken that hastriggered this lawsuitTheregulatory agency in question is United States Congress.
Voting Rights Act of1965 gives the Congress powers to authorize and reauthorize various relevantsections of the Act and specifically Section 5, but within the law. The U.S.Congress, in 2006, reauthorized Section 5 of the applicable Act under theprevious-existing coverage formula provided in Section 4(b) of the VotingRights Act. This action led to a lot of protests from various quarters who feltthe act of the legislature was above its mandate as provided under U.S.
Constitution.This grievance resulted in the present case. Key regulatory question before the courtarising from this regulationThebasic question3,before the Supreme Court bench, was, whether or not the Congress acted beyondits authority granted under the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments byviolating the Tenth Amendment and article 5 of the Constitution, by authorizingSection 5 of the Voting Rights Act, in 2006, pursuant to the pre-existingcoverage formula of Section 4(b) of the same Act4?Who won the case? (Describe thewinning party)Theappellant, who in this case is Shelby County, won the case. The County was inthe covered jurisdiction of the State of Alabama. Initially the County sued theUnited States Attorney General specifically in the District Court for D.C.based in Washington, D.
C. The then petitioner was seeking a declaratoryjudgment to the effect that Sections 4(b) and 5are unconstitutional. ShelbyCounty also sought a permanent injunction contrary to their implementation.However the County lost petition at the District Court stage. More over theCourt Appeals upheld the District Court decision, forcing Shelby County toapproach the Supreme Court for redress.What was the court’s reasoning behindits decision: why did the court rule against the agency or the regulation?Thereasoning for this landmark Supreme Court decision was that the coverageformula used to determine eligibility, for preclearance purpose, was based on adata which was more than 40 years old, thereby deeming it to be unresponsive tothe present societal demands. They Judges argued that this, ‘old’, data are dispensableand impermissible burden on the constitutional and legal values of FederalismState’s equal sovereignty.
5What precedent was set by this case:How has the regulatory environment been changed?TheCourt clearly stated that Congress does not have legal authority to subject astate to pre-clearance on the basically on the basis of past discrimination6. Congress was challengedto enact policies, such as the pre-clearance policy, which are in tandem withsocial realities.Key section of the paper: Conduct apolitical analysis of what the decision by the court has done in terms of theability for this issue to be regulated, the discretion remaining for an agencyregulate in this area, and the reason why Congress has not taken further actionin this area to address the issues raised in the court case?TheCourt ruling in the Shelby County case had significant legal and politicalimpact.
The ruling resulted in several States particularly, those which wereonce regulated under the preclearance regime, have enacted laws and policiesthat in essence acted to remove polices for example online voter registration,Sunday voting, pre-registration for minors about to reach 18 and early votingamong others. The decision has also made some States to enforce voteridentification legal regimes, as well as turning out to be more aggressive indelisting in eligible voters from the voters rolls. The Shelby decision hasimpacted not only on the previous pre-clearance jurisdictions but also in otherareas that were not regulated or covered under the Voting Rights Act forexample Alabama and Arkansas.7 The relevant court opinionattracted heavy coverage from the members of the press more so, on reactionselicited by the political class. In particular, the then President, Barak Obamarecorded his unreserved disappointment with the apex Courts judgment. Hespecifically challenged the Congress to enact a statute to guarantee equalaccess for votes for all American.
As of 2014, essentially in June, theproposed amendments to the Voting Rights Act were in a standstill as there wasno general public support for such amendments. 1570 U.S. 2 (2013)2 RyanJ. Reilly, Mike Sacks and Sabrina Siddiqu (25 June 2013).
“Voting RightsAct Section 4 Struck Down By Supreme Court”. The Huffington Post.Retrieved 25th January 20183 Thequestion when quoted verbatim from the Court records (presented before theCourt) reads as follows; “Whether Congress’ decision in 2006 toreauthorize Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act under the pre-existing coverageformula of Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act exceeded its authority underthe Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments and thus violated the Tenth Amendmentand Article IV of the United States Constitution.”4 VotingRights Act 19655 ShelbyCounty v. Holder, 570 U.
S. 2 (2013) https://www.supremecourt.
gov/opinions/12pdf/12-96_6k47.pdf6 ShelbyCounty v. Holder, 570 U.S. 2 (2013)https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/12-96_6k47.pdf7 Lyle, Denniston (June 25, 2013).
“Openrecap: Voting law in deep peril”. SCOTUSblog. Retrieved June 30, 2013.Jump up ^ Hasen, Richard (25 June 2013).
“Thecurious disappearance of Boerne and the future jurisprudence of voting rightsand race”. SCOTUSblog. Retrieved 5 August 2013.