Orrick Amicus Brief Urges Supreme Court to Uphold Voting Rights Act and Prevent Voter Discrimination

February.28.2013

An Orrick team drafted an amicus brief on behalf of 28 Asian American groups to urge the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA). The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the highly publicized case (Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder) yesterday to determine whether the landmark law's methods are still constitutional.

Intended to stop voter discrimination before it occurs, Section 5 mandates that states and counties with a history of racial discrimination must submit new voting rules and practices to the U.S. Department of Justice or the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia for review. This process ensures that the proposed changes do not reduce the ability of minority voters to participate in the electoral process.

The Orrick brief was filed by the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) and the Asian American Justice Center (AAJC), member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice.

"As Asian American political participation continues to grow, this key provision of the Voting Rights Act must be upheld to ensure the full and equal participation of all voters of color in the electoral process," said Margaret Fung, executive director of AALDEF.

Click here for more background on the case and Orrick's brief.

"The Orrick team that prepared this amicus brief fully appreciated the importance of the issue before the High Court and worked tirelessly to prepare our arguments explaining how the experience of Asian Americans underscores why Section 5's protections must remain intact," said Silicon Valley of counsel Monte Cooper. "It was a genuine honor to participate in this process and see the excellent contribution the team produced and offered in addressing what will be one of the highest profile civil rights decisions of the near term."

The Orrick team consisted of New York securities litigation partner Matt Craner, Silicon Valley intellectual property of counsel Monte Cooper, Los Angeles securities litigation associate Judy Kwan, New York litigation associate Matthew Pickel, Silicon Valley intellectual property managing associates Andrew Ong and Lillian Mao, and Silicon Valley legal secretary Helena Bursik.