New York Law School

Archive for May, 2012

Federal Appeals Court Upholds the Constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act

Today, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the constitutionality of a key provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  The case, Shelby County v. Holder, involved a challenge to the Section 5 “preclearance” provision of the Voting Rights Act.  Section 5 requires that  states and jurisdictions with the worst histories of voting discrimination submit proposed voting changes to the U.S. Department of Justice or the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to ensure they have no discriminatory intent or effect.  The court’s opinion is critically important in the ongoing battle for fair and effective participation in our political process.  Section 5′s “preclearance” provisions are widely considered to be the heart of the Voting Rights Act.  Today, the court reaffirmed not only the necessity of having the states and jurisdictions with the worst histories of voting discrimination “preclear” any changes to their electoral process, but that Section 5 continues to be a constitutional exercise of congressional authority.  Indeed, recent efforts across the country to suppress minority voters are proof that Section 5′s “strong medicine” remains necessary. From the perspective of those who are concerned about racial justice, civil rights and political participation, the record that was before Congress makes abundantly clear that Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act is still very necessary to protect the rights of racial and ethnic minorities who live in the covered jurisdictions to effective participation in our political process.

The opinion in Shelby County v. Holder can be found here.

 

Welcome to the Race to Justice

Welcome to the new Race to Justice, the blog of the New York Law School Racial Justice Project.  Race to Justice is a forum for discussion on issues of race, justice, and equality.  While many have proclaimed that we are now living in a “post-racial” society, racism is alive and well.  Yet our nation remains unable to have meaningful conversations about race and injustice.

Through this blog we hope to increase awareness of racism and structural racial inequality that continue to plague America, and provide commentary on current events that impact racial equality.

The blog will also be a place to learn about recent court decisions that involve issues of racial justice and upcoming events.

We hope you will visit the blog often.  If you have questions about Race to Justice or the work of the Racial Justice Project, please contact us at jac@nyls.edu.

Symposium Video Now Available

With nearly 300 attendees, our spring Symposium was an unqualified success. We are grateful to the many practitioners, academics, organizers, and members of the public who prepared materials, spoke on a panel, or attended the day’s events.

For those who weren’t able to attend, we are extremely pleased to announce that video of the symposium is now available for streaming on our website. Click here to launch the video player.