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Shelby County: VRA challenged argued in DC

The Birmingham News reports: Shelby County is intent on having key sections of the Voting Rights Act declared unconstitutional and ending federal oversight of elections across the South, not just in one Alabama county, the county's lawyers said Friday.

In a case that everyone in the Washington, D.C., courtroom seemed to agree was destined for the U.S. Supreme Court, lawyers for U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Shelby County argued over whether the judge should take into account the Alabama county's voting rights history in deciding whether the 45-year-old law, renewed by Congress four years ago, remains constitutional.

The difference could be significant. Justice Department lawyers said the judge may not have to decide whether the law is constitutional if the government determines that the county qualifies for a bailout so that it can be excused from having to get its election-related changes blessed by Washington. ...

But a lawyer for Shelby County told U.S. District Judge John Bates that the county was not asking for a bailout. William Consovoy, representing Shelby County, argued that the only evidence the judge should consider is the record Congress compiled before deciding to renew the law in 2006. The 21,000 pages includes testimony about jurisdictions that have run afoul of the law in recent years, which Congress relied upon in extending the law for another 25 years. Read the whole story --> Federal judge hears early arguments in Shelby County challenge to Voting Rights Act | al.com

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