- Feb 28, 2013
We were both in the courtroom yesterday for the oral argument in the Shelby County, Alabama, voting rights case, and were particularly struck by one aspect of the arguments: the strange persistence of the myth that Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act is an adequate substitute for Section 5. The working theory seems to be that if Section 5 is declared unconstitutional or the coverage formula in Section 4 is struck down, there’s always Section 2 of the Act. We call that a theory because there is no basis in reality for believing it.
Solicitor General Don Verrilli told the Justices that Section 2 cases are not an adequate substitute for Section 5, emphasizing that the voter has to bear the burden of proof and other heavy burdens, including cost. Attorney Debo Adegbile followed that up with the point that Sections 2 and 5 work in tandem, with Section 5 often needed to insure that gains won in Section 2 cases are protected.
- Feb 22, 2013
The 2012 elections and the second inauguration of President Barack Obama are now behind us, and, thank goodness, the unproductive 112th Congress is long gone. As the 113th Congress begins, hope and optimism should spring anew.
- Feb 6, 2013
A popular attack by critics of the Voting Rights Act is that the covered jurisdictions are being punished for the sins of their grandfathers. It’s an argument that doesn’t hold water but it doesn’t stop people from repeating it, especially in the lead-up to the oral argument in Shelby County v. Holder. Two short new videos from the Leadership Conference lay bare these claims and hammer home the continuing need for voter protections afforded by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.
The videos show that discriminatory voting practices are by no means a thing of the past. They focus on two recent attempts to disenfranchise voters through laws passed by the legislatures of South Carolina and Texas—state laws that were blocked thanks to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Real people who would have lost their ability to vote were it not for Section 5 share their stories.
- Jan 16, 2013
For many years, policies requiring public disclosure of the money spent to influence the outcome of U.S. elections had bipartisan support. The post-Watergate laws, which included a new and comprehensive disclosure regime, passed with support from both Republicans and Democrats. The 2000 law to require so-called "527" political groups to disclose their donors was authored by a Republican and passed with the support of 80% of House Republicans.
- Jan 4, 2013
By April, all six commissioners will be lame ducks serving expired terms. It’s long past time for a whole new crop of commissioners – ones willing to enforce the laws passed by Congress. On January 3, Legal Center Executive Director Meredith McGehee was invited to submit a guest commentary on the topic on Politix -- the political arm of Topix the largest discussion forum in the U.S. with more than 10 million users. McGehee produced a short video to kick off the discussion.
To watch the video at Politix, click here.
- Dec 12, 2012
Today, conservative groups joined reformers in calling upon House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to reauthorize and appoint new board members to the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE), and for President Barack Obama to nominate replacements for the 5 lame duck commissioners on the Federal Election Commission (FEC) with individuals willing to enforce the laws passed by Congress. Legal Center Policy Director Meredith McGehee focused her remarks at the press conference on the importance of reinvigorating the FEC.
McGehee’s full remarks follow below.
The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is intentionally structured to be ineffective. In that sense, it is the most successful agency in Washington -- but to the detriment of the American people.
- Nov 29, 2012
Want to know what Stephen Colbert is really like, or what the chances are for gaining bipartisan support for campaign finance reform? Here’s your chance! CLC President, Trevor Potter, participated in a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) on Tuesday, which was followed by almost 4,000 people!
To read the full AMA, click here.
To watch behind the scenes video of Trevor’s Reddit debut, click here.
Some of the highlights include:
Q: What was your initial reaction when Colbert told you he wanted to start a Super PAC?
- Nov 19, 2012
Over the weekend, Legal Center President Trevor Potter appeared on Moyers & Company and dissected the funding and the takeaways from the most expensive election in American history. In his interview with host Bill Moyers, Potter puts to bed the myth that the Supreme Court’s disastrous Citizens United decision really didn’t make much difference and the record spending it helped unleash really didn’t matter.
- Nov 16, 2012
This weekend the Campaign Legal Center’s President Trevor Potter will be one of two featured guests on Moyers & Company for an informative interview entitled, “Hurricanes, Capitalism & Democracy.” Host Bill Moyers asks Potter to dissect and assess the impact of spending on the most expensive election in American history.
The segment will air this weekend on Sunday’s in most locations but as early as Friday in some areas. To find out when the show will air in your area, click here.
See a preview of the show, click here.
- Nov 15, 2012
Last month, I posted a blog listing six reasons why the Supreme Court should not grant the petition for certiorari in the Shelby County, AL case. Nonetheless, last week, the Supreme Court issued an order granting the cert petition in the case. This marks the second time in the last three years that the Supreme Court will consider the issue of the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.