Obama Administration Asked to Weigh in on Felon Voting Bans

May 17, 2010



Last week,  the Supreme Court asked the Obama Administration to weigh in on felon voting bans. The Court said simply, “The Solicitor General is invited to file a brief in this case expressing the views of the United States ”  2010 WL 1740535.  The real issue to be decided is whether laws that bar felons from voting violate the federal Voting Rights Act.

Over the last several years felon disenfranchisement laws have increasingly been litigated before the courts. Five circuits have already ruled on these cases in 2010:

Database:  CTA

Search:   felon! /s (vot! /5 bar barred barring ban banned banning) disenfranchis! & da(2010)

Felony voting restrictions vary by state and severity. Two states allow those serving a felony sentence to vote without restriction (Maine, Vermont). More than half of all states restrict felons on probation or parole from voting; and some states have implemented a lifetime voting bans for felony convictions:

Database:  JLR

Search:  state /s felon! /s life! permanen! /s vote! voting disenfranchis! & da(last 5 years)

The Voting Rights Act states that voting qualifications and prerequisites cannot be used to deny or abridge the voting rights of any U.S. citizen on account of race or color. Felon disenfranchisement laws bar more than five million Americans from voting. Some civil rights groups argue that racial disparities in convictions and sentences result in a disparate impact on certain racial groups which violates the Voting Rights Act.

The U.S. Solicitor General has yet to file a brief on the matter.

Set up a Docket Alert: 09-920

Case law search for felon voting bans with a locate for the Voting Rights Act:

Search: felon! /s (vot! /5 bar barred barring ban banned banning) disenfranchis!

Database: ALLCASES

Locate: “Voting Rights Act”

Journal search for felon voting bans with a locate for the Voting Rights Act:

Search: ti(felon! /2 disenfranchis!)

Database: JLR

Locate: “Voting Rights Act”

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Search: Obama asked to weigh in on felon disenfranchisement laws