Unteachable: Shelby County, Canonical Apostasies, and Ways Forward for the Voting Rights Act

Kareem U. Crayton and Terry Smith, Unteachable:  Shelby County, Canonical Apostasies, and Ways Forward for the Voting Rights Act (2013), available at http://ssrn.com/abstract=2361495.

Abstract:  In this paper, we analyze the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, which declared unconstitutional the coverage formula for Section 5 preclearance. We conclude that Shelby County is a radical departure not only from the Supreme Court’s Voting Rights Act jurisprudence but also from canons of statutory construction more generally. While the Court’s decision has adverse implications for both separation of powers doctrine and minority voting rights, the authors propose an expeditious fix to the coverage formula that would likely pass constitutional muster.

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