Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor recently said that she has second thoughts about Bush v. Gore. Whatever feelings she now expresses, the U.S. Supreme Court’s involvement at that time obviously had implications for election law, and, of course, the direction of our nation. Since then, the court has ruled on a variety of important voting rights cases,1 and in a matter of weeks the court is expected to hand down decisions in two additional ones, also having far-reaching consequences.

One involves an Alabama county that opposes federal oversight of its election procedures, and the other concerns the scope of Arizona’s law requiring voters to submit documentary proof of citizenship when registering to vote. Both cases, Shelby County, Ala. v. Holder2 and Arizona v. Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona,3 consider the authority of Congress to protect voters against state and local ordinances that impinge upon fundamental voting rights. (Co-author Myrna Pérez’s organization, the Brennan Center, submitted amicus briefs in the Shelby County and Arizona cases.)

‘Shelby County, Ala. v. Holder’

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