SCOTUS to Take Center Stage on Voting Rights Act, Marriage Equality

(This article originally appeared in the Stateside Dispatch, Progressive States Network's email roundup of the latest state policy news. Sign up to receive the Dispatch in your inbox here.)

In the coming weeks, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in two high-profile challenges affecting states directly: Shelby County v. Holder, a challenge to the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, as well as two cases on same-sex marriage. Arguments in the Voting Rights Act case are scheduled for February 27th, while arguments in the two marriage cases, Hollingsworth v. Perry and United States v. Windsor, are set for late March. States and the Obama administration are already filing briefs in advance of both cases. At the same time, efforts to advance marriage equality continued this week in state legislatures including Minnesota and New Jersey:

Attorneys General from South Carolina, Arizona, Georgia, South Dakota have filed briefs asking that Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act be declared unconstitutional. [Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law]

Briefs from 11 states in total have been filed with SCOTUS in advance of the oral augments in the case, including Mississippi, California, New York, and North Carolina who are all supporting the constitutionality of the law. [NPR]

The Obama administration is urging the Supreme Court to uphold a federal appeals court ruling that found the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. [Mercury News]

Meanwhile, a Republican state legislator is set to co-sponsor a same-sex marriage bill in Minnesota. [Star Tribune]

New Jersey legislators will attempt to override Gov. Chris Christie's veto of same-sex marriage. [AP]


Read the full Dispatch from February 23, 2013 here.