The Yale Law Journal


The Future of Section 5

12 Mar 2014

Four perspectives on the future of voting rights law in advance of Shelby County v. Holder


A Cure Worse than the Disease?

Ellen D. Katz

 The pending challenge to section 5 of the Voting Rights Act insists the statute is no longer necessary. Should the Supreme Court agree, its ruling is likely to reflect the belief that section 5 is not only obsolete but that its requirements do more harm today than the condition it was crafted to ad…


Mapping a Post-Shelby County Contingency Strategy

Guy-Uriel E. Charles & Luis Fuentes-Rohwer


Professors Guy-Uriel E. Charles and Luis Fuentes-Rohwer argue that voting rights activists ought to be prepared for a future in which section 5 is not part of the landscape. If the Court strikes down section 5, an emerging ecosystem of private entities and organized interest groups of various str…


Section 5 as Simulacrum

Justin Levitt

Professor Justin Levitt discusses the Shelby County challenge to section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, noting downsides to the Act’s tremendous symbolic importance. In particular, he finds that the case seems to hinge on a simulacrum of the statute—like an editorial cartoonist’s rendering of a politic…


The Dignity of the South

Joseph Fishkin

The plaintiffs in Shelby County v. Holder argue that section 5 of the Voting Rights Act offends the “equal dignity” of the states. In this Essay, written in advance of the decision, Professor Joseph Fishkin situates this claim in a larger context. Americans have been fighting since the Civil War and…