10:00 am EDT - 4:00 pm EDT

Past Event

Voting Rights after Shelby County v. Holder

Monday, July 01, 2013

10:00 am - 4:00 pm EDT

Brookings Institution
Falk Auditorium

1775 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC

On June 25, the Supreme Court released its decision in Shelby County v. Holder, a constitutional challenge to preclearance provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  Section 5 requires certain “covered” states and localities with a history of race-based discrimination in voting to seek federal government preclearance, either through the federal courts or the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, to adopt changes in their voting laws; Section 4 adopted a formula for identifying those jurisdictions that are subject to preclearance under Section 5. In a 5-4 decision, the Court found Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional, but did not strike Section 5 from the law. As a result, Section 5 preclearance will not be in effect unless Congress passes new legislation that sets forth a new procedure to identify jurisdictions subject to Section 5 preclearance.

On July 1, the Governance Studies Program at Brookings hosted a discussion and webcast focused on the Court’s ruling. The discussion featured scholars of the Voting Rights Act, the parties in the case, experts on Congress, representatives from the civil rights community, and members of the media for a series of discussions on the ruling, its impact on voting rights and election administration, and prospects for future legislative action.

10:00-10:15      Welcome and Introduction

10:15-12:30      Reflections on the Decision and its Likely Impact

12:30-1:30        Lunch Break

1:30-3:45          Possible Responses to the Decision

3:45                 Conclusion

Read our list of discussion questions and topics here » 


You can follow the discussion at #BIVRA.


  • Thomas Mann, W. Averell Harriman Chair and Senior Fellow, Governance Studies, The Brookings Institution
  • Nathaniel Persily, Professor of Law, Stanford Law School


  • Khalil Abboud, Democratic Elections Counsel, Committee on House Administration
  • Robert Barnes, Supreme Court Reporter, The Washington Post
  • Lisa Bornstein, Senior Counsel, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
  • E. Mark Braden, Of Counsel, Baker & Hostetler LLP
  • Jess Bravin, Supreme Court Correspondent, The Wall Street Journal
  • Guy-Uriel Charles, Charles S. Rhyne Professor of Law, Duke University School of Law
  • William S. Consovoy, Partner, Wiley Rein LLP
  • Kareem Crayton, Associate Professor of Law, University of North Carolina School of Law
  • Gilda Daniels, icontwitter @gilda_daniels, Associate Professor, University of Baltimore School of Law
  • Julie Fernandes, Senior Policy Analyst, Open Society Foundations
  • Edward Foley, Professor of Law, Moritz College of Law, The Ohio State University
  • John Fortier, Director, Democracy Project, Bipartisan Policy Center
  • Heather Gerken, J. Skelly Wright Professor of Law, Yale Law School
  • Jon M. Greenbaum, Chief Counsel and Senior Deputy Director, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights under Law
  • Sam Hirsch, Deputy Associate Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice
  • Dale Ho, icontwitter @dale_ho_ACLU, Director, ACLU Voting Rights Project
  • Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel, NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund
  • Samuel Issacharoff, Bonnie and Richard Reiss Professor of Constitutional Law, New York University School of Law
  • Elaine Kamarck, icontwitter @EKamarck, Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution
  • Glenn Magpantay, Director, Democracy Program, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund
  • Spencer Overton, icontwitter @SpencerOvertonProfessor of Law, George Washington University Law School
  • Richard Pildes, Sudler Family Professor of Constitutional Law, New York University School of Law
  • Thomas Saenz, President and General Counsel, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund
  • Daniel Stid, icontwitter @Daniel_Stid, Senior Fellow, Hewlett Foundation
  • Stuart Taylor, icontwitter @staylor5448, Nonresident Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution
  • Abigail Thernstrom, Vice-Chair, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights
  • Daniel Tokaji, Robert M. Duncan/Jones Day Designated Professor of Law, Moritz College of Law, The Ohio State University
  • Wendy Weiser, Director, Democracy Program, Brennan Center for Justice