The Rise and Fall of the Voting Rights Act

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University of Oklahoma Press, Apr 12, 2016 - Political Science - 258 pages

On June 25, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in Shelby County v. Holder, invalidating a key provision of voting rights law. The decision—the culmination of an eight-year battle over the power of Congress to regulate state conduct of elections—marked the closing of a chapter in American politics. That chapter had opened a century earlier in the case of Guinn v. United States, which ushered in national efforts to knock down racial barriers to the ballot. A detailed and timely history, The Rise and Fall of the Voting Rights Act analyzes changing legislation and the future of voting rights in the United States.

In tracing the development of the Voting Rights Act from its inception, Charles S. Bullock III, Ronald Keith Gaddie, and Justin J. Wert begin by exploring the political and legal aspects of the Jim Crow electoral regime. Detailing both the subsequent struggle to enact the law and its impact, they explain why the Voting Rights Act was necessary. The authors draw on court cases and election data to bring their discussion to the present with an examination of the 2006 revision and renewal of the act, and its role in shaping the southern political environment in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, when Barack Obama was chosen. Bullock, Gaddie, and Wert go on to closely evaluate the 2013 Shelby County decision, describing how the ideological makeup of the Supreme Court created an appellate environment that made the act ripe for a challenge.

Rigorous in its scholarship and thoroughly readable, this book goes beyond history and analysis to provide compelling and much-needed insight into the ways voting rights legislation has shaped the United States. The Rise and Fall of the Voting Rights Act illuminates the historical roots—and the human consequences—of a critical chapter in U.S. legal history.

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List of Illustrations
Implementing the
A Comparative Analysis of the Impact of the Voting Rights
The VRA Mr Obama and the 2008 and 2012 Presidential
The 2006 Debate and Renewal of the
Shelby County and Equal Sovereignty
The Voting Rights Act after Shelby County

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About the author (2016)

Charles S. Bullock III is the Richard B. Russell Professor of Political Science and Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Georgia.

Keith Gåddie is Presidential Professor of Architecture and Journalism and Executive Faculty Fellow at the University of Oklahoma. His scholarship focuses on judicial architecture and the role of race in constructing meaning and affect in the public space. He has authored or coauthored more than twenty books including Regulating Wetlands Protection, University of Georgia Football, The Triumph of Voting Rights in the South, The Rise and Fall of the Voting Rights Act, The U.S. Supreme Court’s Democratic Spaces (with Jocelyn Evans), and the forthcoming Democracy’s Meaning: How the Public Understands Democracy and Why It Matters (with Nicholas T. Davis and Kirby Goidel). He also coedits the journal Social Science Quarterly.

Justin J. Wert is the Associates Second Century Presidential Professor & Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Oklahoma and recipient of the 2006 American Political Science Association's Edward S. Corwin Award. He is author of Habeas Corpus in America: The Politics of Individual Rights.