Shelby County v. Holder
Full name: Shelby County v. Holder, Attorney General
Click here to read the decision
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Related IssuesVoting Rights
Related BillsVoting Rights Act
The Supreme Court effectively invalidated the part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that required jurisdictions with a history of voter discrimination to pre-clear any changes to their voting laws - by saying that the formula used to determine affected districts was outdated.
How this case got to the Supreme Court
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 calls for states and congressional districts with a history of voting discrimination to pre-clear any changes to their voting practices with the federal government.
The state of Alabama was on that list. Shelby County in Alabama sued the federal government, claiming that the formula used to determine which districts are subject to pre-clearance was outdated - and therefore unconstitutional.
How the court ruled
The court did not rule pre-clearance (referred to as Section 5 of the law) unconstitutional. It also acknowledged that voter discrimination still exists. It ruled, however, that the formula used to select jurisdictions for pre-clearance (those with track records of discrimination as specified in Section 4 of the act) was outdated and unfair.
The court left it up to Congress to come up with a new formula to designate jurisdictions. Until that happens, any state or district can change their voting practices without the need to have the change pre-cleared by the federal government.