The Most Fundamental Right

The Most Fundamental Right : Contrasting Perspectives on the Voting Rights Act

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Passed in 1965 during the height of the Civil Rights movement, the Voting Rights Act (VRA) changed the face of the American electorate, dramatically increasing minority voting, especially in the South. While portions of the Act are permanent, certain provisions were set to expire in 2007. Reauthorization of these provisions passed by a wide margin in the House, and unanimously in the Senate, but the lopsided tally hid a deep and growing conflict. The Most Fundamental Right is an effort to understand the debate over the Act and its role in contemporary American democracy. Is the VRA the cornerstone of civil rights law that prevents unfair voting practices, or is it an anachronism that no longer serves American democracy? Divided into three sections, the book utilizes a point/counterpoint approach. Section 1 explains the legal and political context of the Act, providing important background for what follows; Section 2 pairs three debates concerning specific provisions or applications of the Act; while Section 3 offers commentaries on the previous chapters from attorneys with widely divergent more

Product details

  • Paperback | 418 pages
  • 152.4 x 228.6 x 25.4mm | 612.35g
  • Indiana University Press
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 0253001943
  • 9780253001948

About Daniel McCool

Daniel McCool is Professor of Political Science at the University of Utah and author (with Susan Olson and Jennifer Robinson) of Native Vote: American Indians, the Voting Rights Act, and the Right to more

Review quote

This timely collection provides deep theoretical and empirical justifications for the VRA, and equally well-developed arguments in opposition. One finished the collection more informed and a little unsure of what is called, both signs of a well-edited volume. * * [T]he arguments presented in McCool's volume seem likely to remain contemporary for years to come . . . .100.2 Sept. 2013 * Journal of American History * [A]s an introduction to the VRA's [Voting Rights Act] underexplored role in protecting the franchise for language minorities in the West, The Most Fundamental Right is a welcome addition.12.3 Sept. 2014 * Perspectives on Politics * Excellent for collections on civil rights, voting rights, US politics, and constitutional law. . . . Highly recommended. * Choice *show more

Table of contents

PrefaceSection I: The Political and Legal Context of the Voting Rights Act1. Meaningful Votes \Daniel McCool2. The Constitutional Foundations of the "Pre-Clearance" Process: How Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act Was Enforced, 1965-2005 \Peyton McCrary3. Influence District and the Courts: A Concept in Need of Clarity \Richard EngstromSection II: The Debate4. The Bull Connor Is Dead Myth: Or Why We Need Strong, Effectively Enforced Voting Rights Laws \Laughlin McDonald5. Bull Connor is Long Dead: Let's Move On \Abigail Thernstrom6. The Voting Rights Act in South Dakota: One Litigator's Perspective on Reauthorization \Bryan Sells7. Realistic Expectations: South Dakota's Experience with the Voting Rights Act \Chris Nelson8. The Continuing Need for the Language Assistance Provisions of the Voting Rights Act \James Thomas Tucker9. Policy and Constitutional Objections to Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act \Roger CleggSection Three: Commentary10. After NAMUDNO: The Shape of Future Litigation \Edward Blum 11. Looking Backward to and Forward from the 2006 Voting Rights Act Reauthorization \Debo Adegbileshow more

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