May 18, 2012
D.C. Circuit Rules VRA Challenge Moot
The D.C. Circuit ruled today in LaRoque v. Holder that a plaintiff's challenge to the preclearance provision of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act was moot after the Attorney General withdrew its objection to a referendum making local elections nonpartisan in Kinston, North Carolina, a covered jurisdiction. We previously posted on the case here.
The ruling comes the same day as the same three-judge panel affirmed the constitutionality of Sections 5 and 4(b) of the VRA. (Judge Williams dissented in that case.)
The court rejected the plaintiff's claims that the AG might again object to voting changes (that the objections are capable of repetition but evading review) and that a ruling that Section 5 is unconstitutional would make it easier for the plaintiff to ask North Carolina to nullify the last election (conducted as a pre-referendum partisan election) and give him a do-over.
The ruling says nothing about the constitutionality of Section 5. But that doesn't matter: The other case today, Shelby County, affirming the constitutionality of Section 5, is all but certainly heading to the Supreme Court.
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