On February 20, C-SPAN Radio continues a week-long special series of Supreme Court historic oral arguments previewing key pending cases on the taking of DNA samples from criminal suspects---“Maryland v. King”---and on the constitutionality of parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965---“Shelby County, Alabama v. Attorney General Eric Holder.”
In this program, a case cited in briefs for “Shelby County v. Holder.” From 1986: “North Carolina Attorney General Lacy Thornburg and others v. Ralph Gingles and others.” The North Carolina General Assembly passed a redistricting plan for the state's Senate and House of Representatives. African American citizens of North Carolina alleged that the plan created seven new districts where they would not be able to elect representatives of their choosing. They filed suit in a District Court claiming that this violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the 14th and 15th amendments. Before the District Court could hear the case, Congress amended section 2 of the Voting Rights Act in order to clarify that voting violations needed only to have a "discriminatory effect" and required no "discriminatory purpose." Considering the "totality of circumstances" of the redistricting plan, the District Court ruled that six of the new districts violated the newly amended Voting Rights Act by diluting the power of the African American vote. The North Carolina attorney general appealed the decision directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The audio and information of the cases are courtesy of the Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law at: http://www.oyez.org.
“Thornburg v. Gingles”, previewing a February 27 SCOTUS argument on the constitutionality of parts of the 1965 Voting Rights Act: Wednesday, February 20 at 8pm ET on C-SPAN Radio: 90.1 FM in the Washington, DC area, online at cspanradio.org and nationwide on XM Satellite Radio, channel 119.