Federal Court Upholds Constitutionality Of The Voting Rights Act

MALDEF intervened on behalf of Latino voters in Austin, TX

May 30, 2008

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, a three-judge federal district court rejected an attack on the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act. The lawsuit against the Act was brought by a municipal utility district in Austin, Texas, that asked the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. to declare that certain provisions of the Voting Rights Act no longer applied to the district or that the Act should be ruled unconstitutional.

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) represented Latino voters living in the district who intervened in the case to defend the Voting Rights Act. MALDEF argued that the decision by Congress to reauthorize the Act was based on an extensive record of continuing discrimination against minority voters, including discrimination against Latinos in the State of Texas.

In rejecting the challenge to the Act, the three-judge panel agreed with MALDEF and specifically pointed to a case that MALDEF had brought against the City of Seguin, Texas, in 2002, in which MALDEF had shown that the City had proposed a redistricting plan in order to severely undermine the Latino voting strength in that municipality.

“Today’s decision affirms that the Voting Rights Act is still an important and necessary piece of legislation that continues to protect the voting rights of minority voters throughout the United States,” stated Nina Perales, MALDEF Southwest Regional Counsel and lead attorney for Latino intervenors in the case.

“Voting discrimination persists today. Now that this attack on the Voting Rights Act has been thwarted, we need vigorous enforcement,” explained John Trasviña, MALDEF President and General Counsel. “Voting rights will remain a top priority for MALDEF.”

The name of the case is Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One v. Mukasey.

For all media inquiries, please contact Laura Rodriguez.

Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund