Professor Nate Persily Files Amicus Brief for Voting Rights Case Before the U.S. Supreme Court


Professor Nate Persily Analyzes the 2008 Presidential Election Returns:

Obama’s Victory Should Not Cast Doubt on the Voting Rights Act

Files Amicus Brief for Voting Rights Case Before the U.S. Supreme Court

Media contact: Erin St. John Kelly, 212-854-1787, [email protected]
Public Affairs Office,
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New York, February 26, 2009 — Columbia Law School Professor Nate Persily has presented data to the Supreme Court on the 2008 presidential election, as it considers the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act. He filed an amicus brief in the landmark voting rights case Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District No. 1 v. Holder today.

Persily has analyzed the results of the 2008 presidential election and found that despite the victory of the United States’ first African-American president, race is still a factor in voting in certain Southern states.
At issue in Northwest Austin is Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which when passed in 1965 declared “covered jurisdictions” of certain named states and counties with histories of discrimination against African-Americans. For “covered jurisdictions” to change election procedures they must obtain “preclearance” from the Department of Justice. Northwest Austin would like its status as a “covered jurisdiction” revoked.
Persily’s research shows that while winning the majority of the vote nationwide due to high minority voting and an increase in the share of the white vote in noncovered jurisdictions, President Obama won only 26 percent of the white vote in “covered jurisdictions.”

Professor Persily is available for interview and can be reached at [email protected] and (212) 854-8379.

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