New study confirms the Supreme Court is wrong in Shelby County v. Holder

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

I previously posted about the richly detailed data analysis by Morgan Kousser at Reuters, Gutting the landmark civil rights legislation, which blows away the disingenuous sophistry of Chief Justice John Roberts in Shelby County v. Holder. Research data proves the Supreme Court is wrong.

Key takaeway: updating the data, as the court suggests in Shelby County, would produce nearly the identical coverage as the current formula that the court found "outdated" and thus "unconstitutional" under a previously heretofor unknown constitutional standard of review ("we don't like it"):

Congress did not update the formula because it knows it still works. The comprehensive database that I assembled proves this.
Consider, from 1957 through 2006, almost 94 percent of all voting
rights minority lawsuits, legal objections and out-of-court settlements
occurred in jurisdictions now subject to federal oversight under the
Section 4 formula
.

* * *

My database, however, shows that Congress acted wisely because it knew
that the formula works. Of 3,874 voting rights actions from 1957 through
2006, 3,636 — or 93.9 percent — came from jurisdictions covered under
the Section 4 formula.
Many depended on the coverage formula because
they were based on Justice Department objections, or drew “more
information requests” or lawsuits to enforce Section 5.

Suppose we look instead at cases and consent decrees filed under Section
2 — which can be filed anywhere in the country, in areas not subject to
federal jurisdiction as well as in covered jurisdictions. I have
identified 1,244 Section 2 actions from 1957 through 2006 — and fully
83.7 percent occurred in the jurisdictions subject to federal oversight
.

Now comes a new research paper by Christophe Elmendorf and Douglas Spencer which comes to the same conclusion: "We demonstrate that the racial-stereotyping, polarized-voting, and
population-size criteria would yield similar patterns of coverage, at
least with respect to African Americans, and we show, ironically, that
the new pattern of coverage would coincide with historic coverage under
the “outdated” formula invalidated by Shelby County
."  The Geography of Racial Stereotyping: Evidence and Implications for VRA Preclearance After Shelby County. Abstract to the paper:

The
Supreme Court in Shelby County v. Holder (2013) effectively enjoined the
preclearance regime of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). The Court deemed
the coverage formula, which determines the jurisdictions subject to
preclearance, insufficiently grounded in current conditions. This paper
proposes a new, legally defensible coverage approach based on
between-state differences in the proportion of voting age citizens who
subscribe to negative stereotypes about racial minorities and vote
accordingly. The new coverage formula could also account for racially
polarized voting and minority population size, but, for constitutional
reasons, subjective discrimination by voters is the essential criterion.
We demonstrate that the racial-stereotyping, polarized-voting, and
population-size criteria would yield similar patterns of coverage, at
least with respect to African Americans, and we show, ironically, that
the new pattern of coverage would coincide with historic coverage under
the “outdated” formula invalidated by Shelby County. Recently developed
statistical techniques permit the new coverage formula to be further
refined based on estimates of racial stereotyping within sub-state
geographic units, such as cities and counties. We suggest that Congress
establish default rules for coverage based on our state-level results,
and delegate authority to make sub-state coverage determinations to an
administrative agency, along with other responsibilities for keeping the
coverage formula up to date.

Read the
Research Paper (.pdf), 50 pages.

The Roberts Court disregarded the evidence, judicial restraint and separation of powers, and congressional authority to enforce the 15th Amendment in Shelby County v. Holder in favor of its own partisan political agenda. Shelby County will take its place alongside the previous Top 10 worst Supreme Court decisions. History will judge the Roberts Court harshly.

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