Shelby v. Holder: Decision Will Fundamentally Change Elections


If Shelby County, Alabama wins this suit against Attorney General Holder, the American voting system -- though already flawed -- might become skewed in favor of white Americans.

Shelby County is petitioning against the "preclearance" provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which requires certain states (mostly Southern) to "obtain federal preclearance before making any alterations to their election laws." While Shelby County believes that this law is outdated and represents federal overreach and a violation of Shelby's 10th Amendment and Article IV rights, Holder is attempting to blow holes through their claims.

Holder argues that today, just as in 1965, Southern states should be subject to preclearance laws in order to "fight regression among states with a history of voting rights abuses." He has a point. Even in the most recent presidential election, many Southern (and some generally conservative) states petitioned to change their voting laws. These states faced stark criticism from outside and in, from critics who called their propositions discriminatory against minority voters.