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2002 U. Chi. Legal F. 363 (2002)
Why Courts Should Forbid Minority Coalition Plantiffs under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act Absent Clear Congressional Authorization

handle is hein.journals/uchclf2002 and id is 367 raw text is: Why Courts Should Forbid Minority
Coalition Plaintiffs under Section 2 of the
Voting Rights Act Absent Clear
Congressional Authorization
Christopher E. Skinnellt
Voting rights litigation has always been among the most
complicated areas of the law. It is a field that does not lend itself
to easy judicial standards, a fact that led Justice Frankfurter to
urge his judicial brethren not to enter the political thicket many
years ago.1 Even had the judiciary been inclined to take his ad-
vice,' political developments made such abstention impossible. In
1965 Congress passed the Voting Rights Act (VRA),3 making
voting rights a proper subject of judicial supervision. But the dif-
ficulties described by Frankfurter persist. And, as if the proto-
typical bipolar voting rights case with a white majority and a
black minority were not complicated enough, the last decade has
brought a whole array of new questions about what to do when
more than one statutorily protected group enters the mix.'
One such question facing federal courts is whether two or
more minority groups may combine, or aggregate, themselves
into one substantial minority coalition for purposes of challenging
voting systems and practices under Section 2 of the VRA,6 or
whether each legislatively protected group must bring such a
t B.A. 1999, Claremont McKenna College; J.D. Candidate 2003, University of
See Colegrove v Green, 328 US 549, 556 (1946) (plurality opinion) (arguing that
voting rights suits were generally beyond the competence of the courts and that [clourts
ought not to enter this political thicket).
2 It was not, of course, so inclined. In Baker v Carr, 369 US 186, 209-10 (1962), the
Supreme Court ignored Frankfurter's warning, holding that voting rights cases were
proper subjects ofjudicial intervention.
3 Voting Rights Act of 1965, Pub L No 89-110, 79 Stat 437 (1965), codified as
amended at 42 USC §§ 1971, 1973-1973ff-6 (1994).
4 For an example of such questions see Florence Adams, Latinos and Local Represen-
tation: Changing Realities, Emerging Theories 19-24 (Garland 2000).
5 Voting Rights Act of 1965, Title I, § 2, at 854 as amended by the Voting Rights Act
Amendments of 1982, Pub L No 97-205, § 3, 96 Stat 134 (1982), and codified at 42 USC
§ 1973 et seq (1994).

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