Lawyers for an Alabama county that is challenging a controversial section of the Voting Rights Act have asked a federal appeals court in Washington to strike down a judge’s ruling that upheld the constitutionality of the law. Judge John Bates of U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in September ruled for the Justice Department in its defense of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The section requires some states and localities to get permission before implementing election-related changes.
Section 5, according to the Justice Department, was set up to ensure that changes do not harm minority voting rights. Congress extended the Voting Rights Act in 2006 another 25 years. Shelby County, Ala., sued the Justice Department last year.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, where the case is now pending, will hear the case Jan. 19. The U.S. Supreme Court has not weighed in on the constitutionality of Section 5, but the high court has said the section raises “serious” constitutional questions.