NOTE: THORNBURG v. GINGLES: THE SUPREME COURT'S NEW TEST FOR ANALYZING MINORITY VOTE DILUTION. Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 1987 The Catholic University Law Review
Catholic University Law Review

NOTE: THORNBURG v. GINGLES: THE SUPREME COURT'S NEW TEST FOR ANALYZING MINORITY VOTE DILUTION.

WINTER, 1987

Catholic University Law Review

36 Cath. U.L. Rev. 531

Author

Mary J. Kosterlitz

Excerpt

Since its enactment in 1965, the Voting Rights Act 1 has been instrumental in providing minorities with access to the political process in this country and in countering over a century of racially discriminatory election laws and policies. 2 Besides prohibiting practices such as literacy tests and poll taxes which directly curtail a minority group's access to the polls 3 the Voting Rights Act, and section 2 specifically, also outlaw practices that deny minorities electoral participation by diluting the effectiveness of their votes. 4

Cases brought under section 2 of the Voting Rights Act involve claims of illegal discriminatory voting practices. 5 These suits are premised on the argument that certain voting procedures and practices inherently diminish the impact of minority voters and restrict their ability to elect candidates of their choice. 6 Within the last twenty years, plaintiffs who brought vote dilution claims met with varying degrees of success while courts created numerous definitions and tests to evaluate these cases. 7

After the Supreme Court decision in Mobile v. Bolden 8 in 1980, it was necessary for plaintiffs to show discriminatory intent in order to prove a vote dilution case based on constitutional claims. 9 In response to the Court's decision in Bolden, Congress amended section 2 in 1982. This amendment liberalized the establishment of statutory vote dilution claims by removing the requirement of proving discriminatory intent and established the "results test" as a standard. 10 Under this test 11 it is necessary only to prove that a ...
 
 
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