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Congressional Redistricting and the Voting Rights Act: A Legal Overview

Description: This report provides a legal overview of Section 2 of the VRA, a key provision affecting congressional redistricting, and selected Supreme Court case law. It discusses Sections 4 and 5, and the recent Supreme Court decision holding Section 4(b) unconstitutional, Shelby County v. Holder. Section 4 contained a coverage formula that identified states and jurisdictions that were required to gain federal approval or "preclearance" to proposed redistricting plans under Section 5. The report also provides an overview of selected legislation in the 112th and 113th Congresses that would establish additional requirements and standards for congressional redistricting.
Date: August 30, 2013
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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House Contested Election Cases: 1933 to 2005

Description: This report provides a summary of contested election cases from the 73rd Congress through the 109th Congress, 1933 to 2005. The descriptions primarily provide information concerning the nature of the action and the disposition of the case. The summary is limited to only those cases that were considered by the House of Representatives; cases decided at the state level are beyond the scope of this report.
Date: October 26, 2006
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Contested Election Cases in the House of Representatives: 1933 to 2009

Description: From 1933 to 2009 (the 73rd Congress through the 111th Congress), the U.S. House of Representatives considered 107 contested election cases. The summaries of contested election cases contained in this report focus primarily on the nature of the contest and the disposition of the case. For more detailed information regarding each contest, it is important to consult relevant House records. This report examines only cases considered by the House of Representatives involving the question of whether a Member-elect was duly elected.
Date: November 2, 2010
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Supreme Court to Hear Voter Roll Case: What are the Implications?

Description: This report discusses the Supreme Court case of "Husted v. Phillip Randolph Institute," which charges the state of Ohio with violating the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) through their secondary voter registration maintenance program which removes people from the voter rolls due to inactivity. It discusses a brief history of the case before its coming to the Supreme Court and possible implications of the decision.
Date: January 9, 2018
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Campaign Finance Law: The Supreme Court Upholds Key Provisions of BCRA in McConnell v. FEC

Description: This report discusses the Supreme Court's decision in McConnell v. FEC. The court upheld against facial constitutional challenges key portions of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA), (P.L. 107-155, commonly known as the McCain-Feingold or Shays-Meehan campaign finance reform law).
Date: December 19, 2003
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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The Constitutionality of Regulating Political Advertisements: An Analysis of Federal Election Commission v. Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc.

Description: On June 25, 2007, in a 5-4 decision, the Sumpreme Court in Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc. v. FEC affirmed a lower court ruling, finding that a provision of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, prohibiting corporate or labor union treasury funds from being spent on advertisements broadcast within 30 days of a primary or 60 days of a general election, was unconstitutional as applied to ads that Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc. sought to run. In later decisions, it was ruled that advertisements that may reasonably be interpreted as something other than as an appeal to vote for or against a specific candidate are not the functional equivalent of express advocacy and, therefore, cannot be regulated. This report examines and analyzes these decisions and how they effect campaign law.
Date: July 5, 2007
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Recent State Election Law Challenges: In Brief

Description: This report begins by setting forth key constitutional provisions relevant to recent state election law challenges. Next, it discusses federal statutory provisions contained in the Voting Rights Act and the National Voter Registration Act and briefly examines pertinent Supreme Court precedent. Then, based on that legal framework, it provides an overview of several recent challenges to state election laws in Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, and Texas that resulted in major decisions by the various federal courts of appeals as illustrative examples of the types of challenges that have been playing out in the courts. Finally, the report discusses some potential implications of these challenges.
Date: November 2, 2016
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Supreme Court Considering Second Partisan Gerrymandering Case This Term

Description: This report discusses the Supreme Court case of "Benisek v. Lamone" which involves a challenge to a Maryland congressional district map on the basis that it was drawn as a part of partisan gerrymandering. Previous Supreme Court cases involving gerrymandering and background on this case is included.
Date: April 2, 2018
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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The Constitutionality of Campaign Finance Regulation: Buckley v. Valeo and Its Supreme Court Progeny

Description: This report first discusses the key holdings enunciated by the Supreme Court in Buckley, including those upholding reasonable contribution limits, striking down expenditure limits, upholding disclosure reporting requirements, and upholding the system of voluntary presidential election expenditure limitations linked with public financing. It then examines the Court's extension of Buckley in several subsequent cases, evaluating them in various regulatory contexts: contribution limits, expenditure limits, disclosure requirements, and political party soft money and electioneering communication restrictions.
Date: November 18, 2008
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Congressional Redistricting and the Voting Rights Act: A Legal Overview

Description: This report provides a legal overview of Section 2 of the VRA, a key provision affecting congressional redistricting, and selected Supreme Court case law. It discusses Sections 4 and 5, and the recent Supreme Court decision holding Section 4(b) unconstitutional, Shelby County v. Holder. Section 4 contained a coverage formula that identified states and jurisdictions that were required to gain federal approval or "preclearance" to proposed redistricting plans under Section 5. The report also provides an overview of selected legislation in the 112th and 113th Congresses that would establish additional requirements and standards for congressional redistricting.
Date: February 24, 2014
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Congressional Redistricting and the Voting Rights Act: A Legal Overview

Description: This report provides a legal overview of two key provisions of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) affecting congressional redistricting — Sections 2 and 5 — and selected accompanying Supreme Court case law. It examines a pending Supreme Court case, Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, challenging the constitutionality of Section 5. It also provides a summary of selected legislation in the 112th and 113th Congresses that would establish additional requirements and standards for congressional redistricting.
Date: April 2, 2013
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Partisan Gerrymandering: Supreme Court Provides Guidance on Standing and Maintains Legal Status Quo

Description: This report discusses the Supreme Court's ruling in the case of Gill v. Whitford. On June 18, 2018 the Supreme Court ruled that in order to establish standing to sue upon a claim of unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering on the basis of vote dilution, challengers must allege injuries to their interests as voters in individual districts. Topics discussed include Supreme Court precedent, case background, and implications for the future.
Date: July 2, 2018
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Campaign Finance: Issues Before the U.S. Supreme Court in McConnell v. FEC

Description: This report provides a summary of the issues presented by 12 groups of appellants in their jurisdictional statements in 2003. Shortly after the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA), P.L. 107-155 (H.R. 2356, 107th Cong.) was enacted in March 2002 (also known as the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform legislation), Senator Mitch McConnell and others filed suit in U.S. District Court for D.C. against the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) arguing that provisions of the law are unconstitutional. Ultimately, eleven suits challenging BCRA were brought by more than 80 plaintiffs and consolidated into one lead case, McConnell v. FEC. On May 2, 2003, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued its decision in McConnell v. FEC, No. 02-CV-0582 striking down some key provisions of the law as unconstitutional, but on May 19, it issued a stay of its ruling, which leaves BCRA, as enacted, in effect until the Supreme Court issues a decision. (For information about the decision, see CRS Report RS21511, Campaign Finance: Brief Overview of McConnell v. FEC.) Under the BCRA expedited review provision, the court's decision will be reviewed directly by the U.S. Supreme Court, which scheduled oral argument for September 8, 2003.
Date: June 20, 2003
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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