Part I of this Note begins by examining the background of the VRA. In Part I, this Note will briefly summarize the Act’s relationship with the Fifteenth Amendment and the circumstances that prompted its enactment, and detail the development of both section 2 and section 5 of the Act, as they have been used to combat vote discrimination. Part I will also discuss recent Supreme Court decisions that have limited the strength of the Act and set the stage for an analysis of the Act’s inability to combat discriminatory districting.
Part II will highlight two shortcomings of the Act to combat modern day vote dilution. Briefly, these two problems are as follows. First, the sufficient-size Gingles precondition, which every plaintiff suing under section 2 for a districting claim must meet, is interpreted too stringently. Second, the Act lacks the capacity to combat one of the most notorious forms of discriminatory districting, “packing.”
Part III then proposes two solutions to the above-identified problems that provide meaningful paths for relief without disturbing the core precedent surrounding the Act. First, coalition districts should be recognized under the first Gingles prong. Second, section 2 claims should be interpreted broadly to allow evaluation of minority vote dilution on a statewide or systemwide basis.
The VRA at a Crossroads: The Ability of Section 2 to Address Discriminatory Districting on the Eve of the 2020 Census,
Notre Dame L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.nd.edu/ndlr/vol95/iss5/9