Judge Bates denies motion for three-judge panel

U.S. District Court Judge John Bates today released a memorandum opinion denying CIR’s motion to have LaRoque v. Holder heard by a special three-judge panel.  Judge Bates ruled that a suit challenging the constitutionality of Section 5 is not a suit “under” Section 5 because it involves “the application of provisions of the Constitution to Section 5 not the application of the provisions of Section 5 to specific state or local voting…procedures.”  Today’s ruling means that Judge Bates will hear CIR’s challenge, which then can be appealed to the Court of Appeals and ultimately the Supreme Court.  Had the case been heard by a three-judge panel, the panel’s decision could have been appealed directly to the Supreme Court without first being appealed to the Court of Appeals.