Thursday, March 26, 2009
A bipartisan group of leaders of the House Judiciary Committee filed an amicus brief today in Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District v. Holder, the case dealing with the application and reauthorization of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act--the preclearance procedure--now before the Court. The brief covers the history of the VRA and Congressional findings supporting its extension--good fodder for classes on Congress's authority under the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments.
From the brief:
In 2006, after meticulous and extended consideration, Congress determined that the provisions of Section 5 have not yet "outlived their usefulness." City of Rome v. United States, 446 U.S. 156, 180 (1980). In making this determination, Congress acted at the height of its powers in regulating the three intersecting areas of voting, race, and political rights. Congress's judgment is therefore entitled to substantial deference from this Court. Accordingly, as the District Court properly held, Congress's decision to extend the VRA passes muster under any constitutional test, whether rationality review under Katzenbach or the "congruence and proportionality" test in City of Boerne.