County’s attorney ‘quite optimistic’ about voting rights lawsuit

By BRAD GASKINS / Staff Writer

U.S. District Judge John Bates will hear oral arguments Feb. 2 in Shelby County v. Holder, a case Shelby County Attorney Frank “Butch” Ellis said is destined for the nation’s highest court.

“This is on a motion for summary judgment Wednesday in the district court,” Ellis said Monday afternoon. “Ultimately, it’s going to the United States Supreme Court.”

Ellis, who will travel to Washington D.C. on Tuesday, said he is “quite optimistic” about the county’s case.

The county challenges sections 4(b) and 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which forbids cities and towns in nine states, including Alabama, from making any changes in voting practices or procedures without approval from the federal government.

“The deeper we get into this, the more convinced I am that section 4b and section 5 of the voting rights act were unconstitutionally renewed by congress in 2006,” Ellis said.

The Justice Department, along with the American Civil Liberties Union, is pushing for Sections 4(b) and 5 to remain in place.

Shelby County’s lawsuit is being paid for by the Project on Fair Representation, a not-for-profit legal defense fund.