South carolina v katzenbach voting rights act of 1965
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South Carolina v. Katzenbach Voting Rights Act of 1965. Danny Berliant Chris Bailey Sondra Furcajg Warren Linam-Church. The Historical Tension Between Disenfranchisement and the Right to Vote. - Reconstruction and Enfranchisement - Official Disenfranchisement

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South carolina v katzenbach voting rights act of 1965

South Carolina v. KatzenbachVoting Rights Act of 1965

Danny Berliant

Chris Bailey

Sondra Furcajg

Warren Linam-Church


The historical tension between disenfranchisement and the right to vote

The Historical Tension Between Disenfranchisement and the Right to Vote

- Reconstruction and Enfranchisement

- Official Disenfranchisement

- Progressive Re-Enfranchisement


Reconstruction and enfranchisement
Reconstruction and Enfranchisement Right to Vote

  • XVth Amendment

  • 1870 Enforcement Act

  • 1870-1873: 1,271 criminal prosecutions in the South under the Enforcement Act


1876 us supreme court decisions
1876 US Supreme Court Right to Votedecisions

  • US v. Cruikshank: private interference

  • US v. Reese: official interference

  • A nullification of the Enforcement Act effects?


Power of congress over federal elections
Power of Congress over federal elections Right to Vote

  • US Supreme Court 1884, Ex Parte Yarbrough

  • Assertion of congress’ power

    • election of federal officers

    • protect citizen’s’ right to vote in federal elections

  • Power of Congress includes protection against private conduct

  • Powerful tool given to Federal government for protecting voting rights


Post reconstruction
Post-Reconstruction Right to Vote

  • Domination of south by democratic party

  • Withdrawal of federal government from the protection of voting rights

  • Black registered voters kept from voting: violence, fraud, corruption, Jim Crow laws

  • Black votes diluted: gerrymandering and malapportionment

  • Voting process made more difficult: eight box law


Gerrymandering
Gerrymandering Right to Vote


Official disenfranchisement
Official disenfranchisement Right to Vote

  • 1890 Mississippi Constitutional Convention: “Mississippi solution”

  • Mississippi Supreme Court 1896, Ratcliff v. Beale: “By reason of its previous condition of servitude (…), this race had acquired and accentuated certain peculiarities of habit, temperament, and of character (…) – a patient docile people, but careless, (…), without forethought (…)”


Mississippi solution
Mississippi solution Right to Vote

  • Literacy and comprehension test

  • Poll taxes

  • Strict registration deadline

  • Grandfather clause

  • Property qualifications

  • Good character requirements

  • White primaries

  • Black voting rate dropped: from 50% to 5% in Mississippi


Mississippi solution continued
Mississippi Solution (Continued) Right to Vote

  • Congress: most Reconstruction Statutes repealed in 1894: “Let every trace of Reconstruction measures be wiped from the statute books (…)”

  • US Supreme Court Williams v. Mississippi 1898: Federal Constitution allows states to take advantage of the “alleged characteristics of the negro race”


Progressive re enfranchisement
Progressive Re-Enfranchisement Right to Vote

  • World War II, New Deal

  • Increase in black discontent and pressure

  • Change in composition of the US Supreme Court

  • 1947 Report by President’s Civil Rights Commission : “To secure these rights”


Change in us supreme court decisions
Change in US Supreme Court decisions Right to Vote

  • 1941, US v. Classic: primaries are an integral part of election process + extension Congress’ power over federal elections

  • 1944, Smith v. Allwright: outlaws white primaries

  • 1949, Davis v. Schnell: outlaws state’s new “understand and explain test”


Congress 1 st civil r ights law since 1875
Congress: 1 Right to Votest Civil Rights law since 1875

  • 1957 Civil Rights Act: Attorney General can sue anyone who violates person’s voting rights

  • 1960 Civil Rights Act: creates federal voting referees appointed by local federal district courts

  • 1964 Civil Rights Act: alters state qualifications for voters in federal elections


Katzenbach s revolution expansion of federal power to expand the franchise

Katzenbach’s Right to Vote Revolution: Expansion of Federal Power to Expand the Franchise

- South Carolina v. Katzenbach

State Coverage Formula

Suspensions of Tests

Federal Review of New Voting Eligibility Requirements

Listing of Qualified Applicants by Appointed Federal Examiner


Steady progression of change
Steady Progression of Change Right to Vote

  • Voting Rights Act of 1957

    • Gave Attorney General the right to issue injunctions against public and private entities on racial grounds

  • Voting Rights Act of 1960

    • Allowed joinder of states as parties in lawsuits

    • Voting records had to be provided to opposing council

    • Courts given ability to register voters in areas of historic discrimination

  • Voting Rights Act of 1964

    • Outlawed particular tactics of discrimination

    • Expedited hearing of voting cases before special three judge panels


Voting rights act of 1965
Voting Rights Act of 1965 Right to Vote

  • Consisted of four main sections:

    • Coverage Formula

    • Suspension of all voting eligibility tests

    • Federal review of new rules

    • Federal examiners


Coverage formula
Coverage Formula Right to Vote

  • The VRA created a two step test for determining whether a State was subject to the new voting provisions:

    • AG determination that the State maintained a “test or device” for voter eligibility

    • Director of the Census determined that less than 50% of the State’s voting age residents were registered or voted in the previous election


Suspension of eligibility tests
Suspension of Eligibility Tests Right to Vote

  • Any State that fell under the coverage formula was temporarily barred from enforcing eligibility tests (literacy requirements, property ownership, etc.)


Federal review of new rules
Federal Review of New Rules Right to Vote

  • All States falling under the coverage area must submit any news rules to the District Court for the District of Columbia for approval.

  • (Note: Only issue that was not unanimously approved by the U.S. Supreme Court)


Federal voting examiners
Federal Voting Examiners Right to Vote

  • AG appointed federal examiners to oversee voter registration in areas that:

    • Have received at least 20 written complaints

    • Examiners are necessary to guarantee the protections of the 15th Amendment.

  • Federal examiners test voting qualifications of applicants for suspect States.

  • Examiners submit list of eligible voters to State authorities who must then add those names to their voting register.


South carolina v katzenbach 1966
South Carolina Right to Votev. Katzenbach (1966)

  • South Carolina was the first state to fall under the VRA coverage formula.

  • U.S. Supreme Court granted original jurisdiction due to the social unrest across the nation at that time.

  • Katzenbach, a staunch civil rights advocate and the Attorney general, served as a catalyst for both supporters and opponents to civil rights legislation.


South carolina v katzenbach contd
South Carolina Right to Votev. Katzenbach Contd.

  • Katzenbach himself gave the oral argument on behalf of the U.S. government.

  • U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously approving all provisions, except:

    • Justice Black: Cases and Controversies


Interview with katzenbach
Interview with Katzenbach Right to Vote

  • Legislation v. Litigation

  • Oral Argument in front of USSC

  • Significance of Voting Rights Act of 1965

  • Voting Discrimination Today


Modern face of voter discrimination right to access

Modern Face of Voter Discrimination: Right to Access Right to Vote

Progression of Voting Rights Act

Bush v. Gore

Other Forms of Discrimination

Obama v. McCain

Department of Justice


Voting rights act of 19651
Voting Rights Act of 1965 Right to Vote

  • Section 5 of Voting Rights Act - Preclearance

    • Extended for 5 years in 1970

    • Extended for 7 years in 1975

  • Mobile v. Bolden 1980

    • Need proof of racially discriminatory purpose

  • 1982: Congress got rid of new heightened std.

    • Only discriminatory impact required

    • Extended Section 5 another 20 years


Types of voting discrimination cases
Types of Voting Discrimination Cases Right to Vote

  • First Generation: Physical intimidation and blatant disenfranchisement

    • Mostly gone by 1980s

  • Second Generation: Voter dilution

    • Blatant but less violent

  • Third Generation: Voter dilution

    • Less blatant, better justifications

    • Ex:Redistricting of minority districts


Bush v gore
Bush v. Gore Right to Vote

  • Jesse Jackson rallies do not get publicity

  • Stories of racial discrimination

    • Picture identification

    • Sent on wild goose chase


Bush v gore statistics
Bush v. Gore Statistics Right to Vote

  • African Americans made up 54% of votes not counted

  • Automatic machines rejected 14.4% of African American votes and 1.6% of white votes

  • Rejected African American precinct ballots twice the rate as Latino precincts and four times the rate as white precincts


Legal ways of exclusion
Legal Ways of Exclusion Right to Vote

  • Ex-felons not allowed to vote

  • Voting is held on Tuesday

    • Blue collar voters cannot get off work


Obama v mccain
Obama v. McCain Right to Vote

  • Line waiting time

    • 68% of white voters waited 10 minutes or less

    • 45% of black voters waited 10 minutes or less

    • 5% of white voters waited an hour or longer

    • 15% of black voters waited an hour or longer


Obama v mccain1
Obama v. McCain Right to Vote

  • Photo ID Requests

    • ½ of white voters asked for photo identification

    • 2/3 of black voters asked for photo identification

  • African American Self-Discrimination??

    • African American Poll workers asked 46% of African Americans for ID and only 30% of whites


Doj enforcement
DOJ Enforcement Right to Vote

  • Blocked racial discriminatory procedures in Georgia this past summer

  • Federal observers

    • Make sure voting procedures are being done properly

  • DOJ educates states and localities on how to conduct procedures without discriminating


Contemporary face of voter discrimination litigation

Contemporary Face of Voter Discrimination Litigation Right to Vote

Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District

Justice Roberts’ Opinion

Justice Thomas’ Dissent

U.S. v. Euclid City School Board

Lulac of Texas v. Texas Democratic Party

DOJ Attorney Scandal


Northwest austin municipal utility district number one v holder
Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One v. Holder

  • Plaintiff – Small district that set utility rates for the northern part of Travis County (Austin)

  • The district tried to change how it elects the board that sets the rates

  • Because Texas is subject to Section 5 of the VRA, the board had to get preclearance on any change



Northwest austin municipal utility district number one v holder2
Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One v. Holder

  • The District has 2 arguments:

    • That it is not a “political subdivision” as defined by the VRA

    • That Section 5 of the VRA is unconstitutional


Northwest austin municipal utility district number one v holder3
Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One v. Holder

  • Roberts opinion

    • The District is a “political subdivision” as defined by the VRA

    • There is no reason to address the Constitutionality of Section 5 of the VRA


Northwest austin municipal utility district number one v holder4
Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One v. Holder

  • Thomas Dissent

    • Because the 2 different arguments offer 2 different remedies, the Constitutional question must be addressed

    • Section 5 of the VRA is unconstitutional


Northwest austin municipal utility district number one v holder5
Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One v. Holder

  • Thomas dissent

    • 15th Amendment: prohibits denying the ballot to anyone based on “race, color, or previous condition of servitude”

    • 10th Amendment: the states retain all power not delegated to the federal government


Northwest austin municipal utility district number one v holder6
Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One v. Holder

  • Thomas dissent

    • 15th Amendment: prohibits denying the ballot to anyone based on “race, color, or previous condition of servitude”

    • Section 5: any change must be cleared by the DOJ

      • Even if is found to not discriminate based on “race, color, or previous condition of servitude”

      • Katzenbach ratified this expansion of the power of the 15th amendment


Northwest austin municipal utility district number one v holder7
Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One v. Holder

  • Thomas dissent

    • Katzenbach decision was justified due to the extraordinary nature of the problem

      • Violence

      • Repeated attempts to circumvent federal voting laws


Northwest austin municipal utility district number one v holder8
Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One v. Holder

  • Thomas dissent

    • The 2006 VRA was not passed with similar findings by congress

    • Congress acknowledged the primary motivations do not exist anymore

    • Congress justified the 2006 VRA because of secondary concerns of discrimination



Northwest austin municipal utility district number one v holder10
Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One v. Holder

  • Thomas dissent

    • Secondary motivations are not instances of purposeful discrimination

    • Isolated incidents of discrimination are not evidence of systematic discrimination


Lulac v texas democratic party
LULAC v. Texas Democratic Party Holder

  • In Texas, political parties run the primary elections

  • In 1996, the Supreme Court held that political parties are subject to the VRA if they run elections that are similar in scope to elections that would otherwise be run by states


Lulac v texas democratic party1
LULAC v. Texas Democratic Party Holder

  • In the 2008 primary election, the TDP had a plan to assign delegates based on the vote for the democratic gubernatorial candidate in the 2006 election

  • White Districts received more delegates even though Latino districts voted for the candidate as a higher %

    • Similar to the 2000 presidential election


Doj attorney scandal
DOJ Attorney Scandal Holder

  • The Bush administration pushed some attorneys to pursue cases involving voter fraud

    • Some of these cases were to pressure states to remove voters from the voting rolls

  • When attorneys refused, they were fired


Doj attorney scandal1
DOJ Attorney Scandal Holder

  • The administration suggested the attorneys were fired for poor performance

  • A congressional investigation revealed that the failure to pursue those cases was the primary motivating factor

  • It led to the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales


Doj attorney scandal2
DOJ Attorney Scandal Holder

  • Issues

    • Is the VRA sufficient if the DOJ can be politicized to this extent?

    • Is this a reason to support the preclearance provision?


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