The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday backed away from Farrakhan v. Washington, a 2003 precedent on felon disenfranchisement laws that other circuits have disagreed with.
In Farrakhan, the court announced felons could bring a challenge under a section of the Voting Rights Act by presenting evidence of racial disparities in Washington’s judicial system. In a short per curiam ruling released just two weeks after the case was argued en banc, the judges said that rule “sweeps too broadly” and that plaintiffs bringing a challenge under §2 of the act must “at least show that the criminal justice system is infected by intentional discrimination or that the felon disenfranchisement law was enacted with such intent.”
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