Interactive Pre-Clearance Development

Kareem U. Crayton, Interactive Pre-Clearance Development, 27 St. Louis Pub. L. Rev. 319 (2008).

Abstract:  The Voting Rights Act was enacted to guarantee constitutional rights to racial equality under the Fifteenth Amendment. Under Section Five of the Voting Rights Act, certain state and local governments must seek federal “pre-clearance” before altering any rules pertaining to elections. This is contrary to the traditional balance of state and federal power. Today, the “pre-clearance” requirement is an important and controversial part of the Voting Rights Act and has been the source of most voting rights litigation. The article indicates that the Supreme Court would soon address the constitutionality of the “re-clearance” provision.

The article addresses principal criticism of pre-clearance and argues that its transformation over the span of forty years was not unintentional in any sense and that only certain aspects of the regime have expanded in scope. The evolution of the pre-clearance regime can be attributed to the interactive work of Congress and the judiciary. It is largely the result of this interaction that certain aspects of the regime have broadened while others have not.

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