The State of Texas has joined with five other states in asking the Supreme Court to hear Shelby County, Alabama’s challenge to the constitutionality of section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, citing the statute’s demise as “inevitable.”
Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, South Carolina, and South Dakota joined Texas on the brief. Alaska filed a separate brief also urging that the statute be struck down.
The states’ joint brief said that while section 5’s preclearance requirement had served “a noble purpose” and left the United States “a freer and better place,” the requirement could no longer be justified in light of “federalism costs” it imposed, which the states said had “only continued to increase while the statute’s benefits have all but vanished.”
The states said the problem was illustrated in particular by voter ID laws, which had been upheld in Indiana but were being challenged by the Justice Department in Texas and South Carolina.
The states noted that the formula for determining what states are covered by section was over 40 years old and argued that continued use of the formula was based on “outdated” data and not supported by evidence.
The Justice Department’s response is due September 24, after which the Justices will consider whether or not to take the case. If they do, it is likely the case would be argued in the spring of 2013.