MALDEF

Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One v. U.S. Attorney General Holder

The Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, Coretta Scott King, and Cesar E. Chavez Voting Rights Act Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 2006 was enacted after Congress found that vestiges of voting discrimination persist in certain areas of the United States. Days after the Act became effective, a municipal utility district in Austin, Texas, challenged it in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. The Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One asked the court to declare that provisions of the Voting Rights Act no longer applied to the district or that the Act should be ruled unconstitutional.

On October 18, 2006, MALDEF intervened in the case on behalf of Latino voters who reside in the municipal utility district. MALDEF argued that the decision made by Congress to reauthorize the Act was based on an extensive record of continuing discrimination against minority voters and that the Act is constitutional.

The three-judge federal district court agreed with MALDEF and rejected the attack on the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act. The judges included U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman, U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sulllivan and U.S. Circuit Judge David S. Tatel. The case is currently on appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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