Luis Fuentes Rohwer
IU Maurer School of Law
IU Maurer School of Law
Editors: The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments Wednesday (April 29) in Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One v. Holder ("Namudno"), a case that will determine whether the Voting Rights Act remains a constitutional exercise of congressional power under Section 2 of the 15th Amendment. Indiana University Maurer School of Law Professor Luis Fuentes Rohwer is available to discuss the upcoming case.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 28, 2009
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University Maurer School of Law Professor Luis Fuentes-Rohwer said Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One v. Holder ("Namudno") raises some of the most important constitutional and institutional questions of the last 25 years.
"Curiously, most scholars focus on the wrong question: whether the Voting Rights Act is no longer a constitutional exercise of congressional powers," he said. "In answering this question, scholars focus on the legislative record and whether Congress had enough evidence of harm for extending the Act into the future."
The problem with framing the issue in this way, he explained, is that the Court has had myriad opportunities to strike down the Act under circumstances similar to those seen today, but has declined.
"The only question moving ahead focuses on the Court, and how aggressive and activist the Roberts Court chooses to be," he said. "If the past holds to form, the Court will not strike down the VRA. To be sure, the Court will point to the congressional record and the evidence documented by Congress of existing harms faced by communities of color across the United States, and particularly in jurisdictions covered by Section 4 of the Act. But this will be subterfuge. The Court will uphold the Act, as it has done in the past, simply because it does not have the stomach to strike down the most important and effective civil rights statute in history."
Fuentes-Rohwer researches and publishes on the Court, judicial interpretation, and the law of democracy in general and the Voting Rights Act in particular. Fuentes-Rohwer is interested in the way that institutions -- and especially courts -- are asked to craft and implement the ground rules of American politics.
Fuentes-Rohwer can be reached at 812-855-5003 or firstname.lastname@example.org.