In 2009, the Supreme Court avoided striking down Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, and gave Congress a clear ultimatum–fix the law, or we will strike it down. Congress, which had just reauthorized the VRA in its entirety in 2006 by a broad bipartisan basis, did nothing to change it. Then Shelby County happened, and the Court nullified the coverage formulas, urging Congress once again, not so subtly, that they needed to create new formulas that reflected modern-day circumstances.
What would have happened if Congress introduced the Voting Rights Amendments Act in 2010, or maybe in 2006? Would the Supreme Court have even taken Shelby County or Namudno?
Rick Hasen poses the question:
Ironically, I think if this were the bill introduced in 2006 to amend the VRA, it would not only have passed both Houses of Congress and become law, the Supreme Court would have been very likely to uphold the measure as constitutional despite its constitutional problems.
NAMUDNO was the “nudge.” Shelby County was the “shove.”