Civil and Human Rights

Constitutional Accountability Center files brief in Supreme Court voting rights case

Constitutional Accountability Center files brief today in Supreme Court voting rights case

Constitutional Accountability Center filed a brief in the Supreme Court today supporting the United States and a coalition of civil rights organizations in Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District No. 1 v. Holder (NAMUDNO), a case in which a utility district in Texas has challenged Congress’s 2006 decision to reauthorize a critical provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of our country’s most important civil rights laws. CAC’s brief argues that the text and history of the Reconstruction Amendments—the Thirteenth Amendment’s prohibition of slavery, the Fourteenth Amendment’s protection of equality and liberty, and the Fifteenth Amendment’s guarantee of the right to vote—show that these Amendments were intended to provide Congress with the tools to effectively protect fundamental rights, including the right to vote secured by Congress’s extension of the Voting Rights Act.

As CAC’s brief demonstrates, our Reconstruction Framers made their intent to vest Congress with broad power to enact “appropriate legislation” abundantly clear in the debates over the Fourteenth Amendment, which was written to provide Americans with a “shield of national protection.” That is the name of CAC’s next text and history narrative, which follows on the heels of CAC’s widely-acclaimed first narrative, The Gem of the Constitution.

According to Doug Kendall, CAC’s founder and President, “No federal statute stands more squarely in the heartland of the power granted Congress in the Reconstruction Amendments than the Voting Rights Act. This case provides the Supreme Court with a critical opportunity to finally get the text and history of the Reconstruction Amendments right.” CAC’s co-counsel on the NAMUDNO brief is Cliff Sloan, a partner at the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and prominent author.

CAC works to protect the right to vote and other fundamental rights by presenting our Constitution’s progressive text and history in litigation, advocacy, and scholarship.

A copy of CAC’s NAMUDNO brief is available here.