Andrew Cohen on SCT Voting Rights Case Amicus Briefs (and the Navajo Amicus Brief)

Here. An excerpt:

We tend to think of the mission of the Voting Rights Act as focusing exclusively upon the plight of black Americans. But the federal statute has been a grace note to Hispanic organizations and American Indians as well. National Latino groups filed a powerful brief with the justices. And the Navajo Nation filed an amicus brief in this case, and it is poignant for its reminder that while white Americans were discriminating against black Americans they also were discriminating against Native Americans. The Navajo Nation writes:

Indian people have endured a century of discrimination and overcome new obstacles each generation in order to exercise the right to vote in state and federal elections. Nowhere have these struggles been more prevalent than in the Section 5 covered jurisdictions of Apache, Navajo and Coconino Counties in Arizona the home of the Navajo Nation and Todd and Shannon Counties in South Dakota the home of the Rosebud and Oglala Sioux. The amici curiae file this brief to elucidate the importance that the Voting Rights Act and, in particular, Section 5 preclearance, has had in overcoming the purposeful efforts to disenfranchise Indian voters.

While passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965 ended certain means of discrimination, Indians continued to be denied the right to vote through a variety of new strategies. As part of the 2006 reauthorization process, Congress obtained evidence that Indians continued to be disenfranchised by voting schemes, polling place discrimination and ineffective language assistance. The 2006 reauthorization was a legitimate Congressional response to the disenfranchisement. Protected by the Section 5 preclearance, voter registration and turnout have increased, but new challenges have arisen that require continued vigilance.

This entry was posted in Author: Matthew L.M. Fletcher, News, Research, Supreme Court, voting rights and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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