CLC Update April 20, 2009
- Reply Brief Filed in Supreme Court Voting Rights Act Case
- CLC Issues Statement on DOJ's Dismissal of Stevens Indictment
- CLC Sends Letter to AG Urging Removal of OPI Supervisors
Reply Brief Filed In Supreme Court Voting Rights Act Case
On April 15, 2009, the Municipal Utility District (MUD) filed its reply brief the United States Supreme Court in Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District v. Holder. This suit challenges the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, known as the preclearance provision of the Act. Under Section 5, certain states and local governments in all or parts of 16 states must submit voting changes for federal review (preclearance) before such changes may be implemented. The MUD petitioned a three-judge district court in the District of Columbia to exempt it from the preclearance requirements, but the three-judge court refused to do so. Denied the exemption, the MUD then challenged the constitutionality of the preclearance provision. The three-judge court upheld the constitutionality of Section 5 and this direct appeal followed.
In its reply brief, the MUD argues that it is entitled to bailout; that Section 5 intrudes on states' rights; that Section 5 is unconstitutionally overbroad: and that the congressional record developed when the special provisions (including preclearance) of the Voting Rights Act were extended in 2006 shows Section 5 is no longer needed. Oral argument is scheduled for April 29, 2009.
The Campaign Legal Center filed a brief as amici curiae on behalf of a group of former Republican officeholders supporting the constitutionality of the Act. The Legal Center's Executive Director also filed an amici curiae brief in his capacity as a private attorney, representing a number of the jurisdictions that had previously bailed out.
CLC Issues Statement on DOJ's Dismissal of Stevens Indictment
The Campaign Legal Center issued a statement on April 1, 2009 expressing concern about the decision of the Department of Justice to dismiss convicted former Senator Ted Steven's indictment.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder filed a motion on March 31st to dismiss the indictment with prejudice due, in large part, to apparent prosecutorial misconduct by attorneys in the Department of Justice's Office of Public Integrity.
The decision to dismiss the case rather than agreeing to a new trial raised many questions about the case. Hebert stated that the decision is an "extreme measure" and called upon the Attorney General to provide "additional explanation."
CLC Sends Letter to AG Urging Removal of OPI Supervisors
On April 15th, Executive Director of the Campaign Legal Center, J. Gerald Hebert, sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder urging him to safeguard ongoing public corruption investigations and prosecutions by placing Brenda Morris and William Welch, who oversaw the prosecution of Senator Ted Stevens, on administrative leave or by reassigning them temporarily to other offices.
The indictment of Senator Ted Stevens was dismissed last month by the U.S. District Court Emmet Sullivan at the request of the Department of Justice, after additional information surfaced of prosecutorial misconduct by attorneys in the Department of Justice's Office of Public Integrity. The letter stressed that the Attorney General must assure the public that the Department of Justice's Criminal Division is properly managing all pending cases and urged the reassignment of the Public Integrity supervisors pending the outcome of pending reviews of the misconduct allegations.