What is the court’s analysis and rationale?

Needed reference:

· Must use this text book for one reference, this from CHAPTER 1 PAGE 16 the text book:

· Cheeseman, H. R. (2015). Legal Environment of Business: Online Commerce, Ethics, and Global Issues. London, England: Pearson.

(chapter 1 page 16)

IRAC Method

Legal cases are usually examined using the following critical legal thinking method. First, the facts of the case must be investigated and understood. Next, the legal issue that is to be answered must be identified and succinctly stated. Then the law that is to be applied to the case must be identified, read, and understood. Once the facts, law, and legal issue have been stated, critical thinking must be used in applying the law to the facts of the case. This requires that the decision maker—whether a judge, juror, or student—analyze, examine, evaluate, interpret, and apply the law to the facts of the case. Last, the critical legal thinker must reach a conclusion and state his or her judgment. In the study of law, this process is often referred to as the  IRAC method  (IRAC is an acronym that stands for issue, rule, application, and conclusion), as outlined in the following:

IRAC method

A method used to examine a law case. IRAC is an acronym that stands for issueruleapplication, and conclusion.

· I = What is the legal issue in the case?

· R = What is the rule (law) of the case?

· A = What is the court’s analysis and rationale?

· C = What was the conclusion or outcome of the case?

This text—whether in its print or electronic version—offer students ample opportunities to develop and apply critical legal thinking. The text contains real-world cases in which actual disputing parties have become embroiled. The law cases are real, the parties are real, and the decisions reached by juries and judges are real. Some cases are easier to decide than others, but all provide a unique set of facts that require critical legal thinking to solve.

U.S. Supreme Court Case

Let us examine how critical legal thinking is applied by the U.S. Supreme Court. Following is the Supreme Court’s decision of an important voting rights case.

CASE 1.2 U.S. SUPREME COURT CASE Voting Rights Act Shelby County, Texas v. Holder

133 S.Ct. 2612, 2013 U.S. Lexis 4917 (2013) Supreme Court of the United States

“The Act has proved immensely successful at redressing racial discrimination and integrating the voting process.”


The Fifteenth Amendment was added to the U.S. Constitution in 1870, following the Civil War. It provides that the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the federal or state governments on account of race, color, or previous conditions of servitude, and gives Congress the power to enact laws to enforce the amendment.

During the first century after the Fifteenth Amendment, congressional enforcement of the Amendment was a complete failure. Many states enacted literacy and knowledge tests, enforced good moral character requirements, created the need for vouchers from registered voters, and intimidated voters to prevent minority citizens from qualifying to vote or prevent them from voting should they meet the requirements. Based on these impairments, voting by minority citizens, particularly African Americans, was substantially lower than it was for white voters.

In 1965, Congress enacted the Voting Rights Act. Section 2 forbids any standard, practice, or procedure that denies or abridges the right of any citizen to vote on account of race or color. Section 4(b) provides a coverage formula that identified six states—Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Virginia—that maintained illegal voting requirements that substantially reduced minority voter turnout. Section 5 stipulates that the covered states could not make any changes to voting districts or voting procedures without clearance from federal authorities in Washington DC. Portions of other states, including Texas, were added to the list of covered jurisdictions.

The Voting Rights Act, which was originally enacted for five years, had been reauthorized by Congress for more than forty years. In 2006, Congress reauthorized the Voting Rights Act for 25 years. Shortly after the 2006 reauthorization, a Texas voting district challenged the constitutionality of the special coverage provision of the Voting Rights Act. The U.S. district court and the U.S. court of appeals upheld this provision. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal.


Is the coverage provision of the Voting Rights Act that singles out several states for the federal clearance requirement constitutional?

Language of the U.S. Supreme Court

Census Bureau data from the most recent election indicate that African-American voter turnout exceeded white voter turnout in five of the six States originally covered by Section 5, with a gap in the sixth State of less than one half of one percent. There is no doubt that these improvements are in large part because of the Voting Rights Act. The Act has proved immensely successful at redressing racial discrimination and integrating the voting process.

A statute’s current burdens must be justified by current needs, and any disparate geographic coverage must be sufficiently related to the problem that it targets. The coverage formula met that test in 1965, but no longer does so. Coverage today is based on decades-old data and eradicated practices.


The U.S. Supreme Court held that the coverage provision of the Voting Rights Act that requires clearance by the federal government for covered states to make changes to voting districts and other voting requirements is unconstitutional.

Dissenting Opinion

Ginsburg, Justice, filed a dissenting opinion, in which Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan joined.

Thanks to the Voting Rights Act, progress once the subject of a dream has been achieved and continues to be made. After exhaustive evidence-gathering and deliberative process, Congress reauthorized the Voting Rights Act, including the coverage provision, with overwhelming bipartisan support. In my judgment, the Court errs egregiously by overriding Congress’ decision.

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