Voting Rights Act

Austin Impact of Supreme Court Decision

Austin Impact of Supreme Court Decision

Ruling on Section 5 of Voting Rights Act ends
need for federal approval of council districts

by Steve Bickerstaff
© The Austin Bulldog
Posted Tuesday June 25, 2013 5:50pm

President Lyndon Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act of 1965Today, the United States Supreme Court by a vote of 5-4 effectively struck down Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. For Austin, that means that federal approval of the 10 council districts being drawn by the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission will not be needed.

Technically, the Court left Section 5 in place, but unusable. The Court directly struck down the formula in Section 4(b) of the Act that determined which states and local jurisdictions nationwide were covered by the requirement of Section 5 that changes in election procedures and practices by those covered jurisdictions had to be submitted for preclearance. Section 5 was effectively left dangling inapplicable to any jurisdiction.

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