Section 2 as an “Adequate Substitute” for Section 5: Proposing an “Effects-Only” Test as an Amendment to Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965

Heralded as the single most important piece of civil rights legislation, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (“VRA”) may look entirely different for the upcoming generation of minority voters as of 2013. The United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the constitutionality of Section 5 in Shelby County, Ala. v. Holder on February 27, 2013. Shelby County may determine the end of Section 5, given that in 2009 the Court in Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District No. One v. Holder (NAMUDNO) urged Congress to revise Section 5 because, primarily, “[t]hings have changed in the South.” If the Supreme Court strikes down Section 5 in Shelby County, Section 2 will remain as the only means of redress for voting discrimination under the VRA.