Two Alabama papers interview Ed Still about Voting Rights Act
Since the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One v. Holder on 22 June, both the Birmingham News and the Mobile Press Register have interviewed Ed Still about the impact of the decision and what should happen next.
In the Birmingham News, Still suggested more bailouts as the way to prove the law works only where there is still a problem.
Edward Still, a Birmingham lawyer with a specialty in voting rights cases, said Monday that communities in Alabama with few black voters and no history of discrimination should apply for the bailout. Doing so, he said, would negate the argument from Riley that the law unfairly punishes the entire South for the mistakes of just a few jurisdictions that have had voting procedures recently rejected by the Justice Department.
"It would be good for them and it would be good for the Justice Department," Still said.
The Mobile Press Register article centered on the idea that more Southern cities, towns, and counties should seek "bailout" -- a declaratory judgment that the jurisdiction is no longer subject to the preclearance requirements of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Still warned that the Supreme Court decision should be taken as a warning:
If politicians don't address those concerns relatively quickly, some be lieve that the court will take a future opportunity to dump preclearance altogether.
"They're going to lower their sights and aim for the waterline rather than ahead of the ship," said Edward Still, a Birmingham voting rights attorney. Greater use of the bailout option could help head off such a showdown, he said.