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Riley v. Kennedy

The following is by Amy Howe, partner at Howe & Russell.

Earlier this week, a team that included Kevin Russell, Pam Karlan, and the Stanford Supreme Court Litigation Clinic filed this Motion to Dismiss or Affirm in No. 07-77, Riley v. Kennedy.  At issue in the case is whether Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act required Alabama to obtain preclearance of its plan to fill vacancies on a county commission through gubernatorial appointments rather than special elections.  During the 1980s, Alabama had obtained preclearance of a state law mandating that vacancies be filled through special elections, but the Alabama Supreme Court later invalidated the law and ordered the county to return to the prior practice of filling vacancies through gubernatorial appointments – a practice for which the state did not obtain preclearance.  Edward Still of Birmingham is counsel of record in the case; Cecil Gardner and Sam Heldman of the Gardner Firm in Mobile and DC, respectively, are also counsel in the case.