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Alabama: federal court holds state supreme court decisions on elections must be submitted for preclearance

The Mobile Press Register reports: A panel of three federal judges ruled Friday that Gov. Bob Riley should have sought federal approval before appointing Juan Chastang to the Mobile County Commission.

The judges ordered Riley to get clearance from the U.S. Department of Justice that the Chastang appointment complied with the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The governor has 90 days to ask the Justice Department for its approval.

If the Justice Department finds that the appointment violated voters' rights, Chastang's nomination could be voided, and a special election could be held to fill the seat. -- Judges say Justice must OK Chastang

Original post:
A 3-judge court in the Middle District of Alabama has ruled that the State of Alabama violated Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act by enforcing two state Supreme Court decisions without obtaining preclearance for them.

Disclosure: Cecil Gardner and Vance McCrary (of the Gardner, Middlebrooks, Gibbons & Kittrell firm in Mobile, AL) and I represented the plaintiffs in that action.

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