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Voting Rights Act and Judicial Elections: An Update on Current Litigation

NCJ Number
Judicature Volume: 73 Issue: 2 Dated: (August-September 1989) Pages: 74-81
D Richert
Date Published
8 pages
This summary of a panel presentation at the 1989 mid-year meeting of the American Judicature Society explores the implications of lawsuits challenging the legality of certain judicial election systems filed under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 prohibits States or political subdivisions of States from using standards or practices which racially discriminate against a class of citizens by diluting their ability or opportunity to participate in the political process or to elect representatives of their choice. In this article, representatives from seven of the eight States with relevant litigation targeting judicial elections either pending or resolved through settlement or the issuance of an injunction update what is happening in their States. The two cases filed in Texas are reviewed, followed by a discussion of Ohio's Sixth Circuit decision, which held that Section 2 does apply to judges. A representative from North Carolina reports on the Alexander v. Martin case in his State and briefly considers the Haith case. Other States with representatives providing litigation updates are Louisiana, Illinois, Mississippi, and Alabama.