Setback in voting rights challenge

U.S. Federal District Court Judge John Bates issued a ninety-six page opinion today in LaRoque v. Holder,  CIR’s challenge to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. The court upheld Section 5 against CIR’s challenge following the reasoning in another recent case, Shelby County v. Holder.  In addition to claims raised in Shelby County, LaRoque challenged the constitutionality of several amendments to Section 5 that require the Attorney General to preclear voting changes only if they maximize the ability of minority voters to elect their candidate of choice.  Despite the requirement that the Attorney General favor the electoral interests of particular racial groups, the court concluded that the amendments do not exceed Congress enforcement powers nor do they violate due process or equal protection limits on Congress’ authority.  The ruling means LaRoque v. Holder can move quickly to the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit where CIR will appeal today’s decision.