Lesson Plan: Voting Discrimination and the Effects of Shelby County v. Holder

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 prior to Shelby County v. Holder

University of Oklahoma Professor Keith Gaddie talked about the history of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the preclearance requirements that were in effect prior to the 2013 Shelby County v. Holder ruling.

Description

This lesson looks at the history of voting discrimination, the protections provided by the Voting Rights Acts of 1965 and the impact of the Supreme Court case Shelby County v. Holder. Students will view video clips to understand the background behind the case and analyze various perspectives of the effects of the 2013 decision. Students use this information to discuss if the Supreme Court was correct in their ruling in Shelby County v. Holder.

Procedures

  • WARM-UP:

    Before beginning class, have the student define the following terms in their own words:

    • Discrimination

    • Disenfranchise

    • Federalism

    • Jurisdiction

    • Voter Suppression
  • Review the vocabulary terms with the class and ensure that students understand each of these before beginning the lesson.

    Introduce the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Shelby County v. Holder Supreme Court ruling by having the students watch the following video clips and answer each of the questions. Student can use the Shelby County v. Holder handout.

    Handout: Voting Discrimination and Shelby County v. Holder (Google Doc)

  • Video Clip 1: The Voting Rights Act of 1965 prior to Shelby County v. Holder (2:59)

    • Describe the events and actions that led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

    • What does the Voting Rights Act of 1965 do?

    • Why were certain states specifically included in this law?
  • Video Clip 2: Chief Justice Roberts' Opinion in Shelby v. Holder (2:00)

    • What is meant by preclearance? What were the preclearance requirements built into the Voting Rights Act of 1965?

    • What was the purpose of these preclearance requirements?

    • Describe the ruling in Shelby County v. Holder. What were Chief Justice Roberts' arguments in his majority opinion?
  • EXPLORATION:

    To explore the impact of Shelby County v. Holder, have the students use the Shelby County v. Holder handout and watch the video clips on each side. For each clip, the students should take notes on the arguments supporting the Supreme Court ruling in Shelby County v. Holder and the arguments opposing the ruling. Students will be using these notes later to determine if the Supreme Court made the correct ruling in Shelby County v. Holder.

    This activity can also be adapted to a jigsaw format and have students present the findings of individual the individual clips.

    Handout: Voting Discrimination and Shelby County v. Holder (Google Doc)

  • Arguments for the Shelby County v. Holder Ruling

  • Arguments against the Shelby County v. Holder Ruling

  • APPLICATION:

    After viewing the videos, have the students answer the following question either through a class discussion or by writing an argumentative essay. Students should support their arguments with examples from the video clips. Teachers can also use any of the deliberation activities on the C-SPAN Classroom Deliberation website to engage their class in discussion.

    • Was the Supreme Court correct in their ruling in Shelby County v. Holder?
  • CONCLUSION:

    As an exit slip, student should answer the following question in a short paragraph.

    • What was the impact of the Shelby County v. Holder Supreme Court ruling?
  • EXTENSION ACTIVITIES:

    Supreme Court Case Analysis- Using the summary of the Shelby County v. Holder (2013) Supreme Court case found on the Oyez website, read the information about the case and provide the following:

    • Summarize the background information and the major question in the case.

    • What parts of the Constitution does the case address?

    • How did the Court rule?

    • Provide a summary of the majority opinion, concurring opinion and dissenting information.

    • Based on this information, which opinion do you most agree with. Provide examples to support your argument.
  • Current Events Relating to Shelby County v. Holder- Find a news article that relates to one of the issues discussed in the Shelby County v. Holder case. Read the article and provide the following:

    • Summarize the article.

    • How does this relate to the issues discussed in Shelby County v. Holder?

    • What, if anything, should be done to address this?
  • ADDITIONAL PROMPTS:

    • How effective was the Voting Rights Act of 1965?

    • Based on the video clips, how has voting discrimination changed since the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965?

    • Should Congress enact additional legislation to provide protections against voting discrimination? Support your arguments with examples.

Additional Resources

Vocabulary

  • Civil Rights Act Of 1964
  • Department Of Justice
  • Disenfranchise
  • Exact Match Law
  • Federalism
  • Fifteenth Amendment
  • Fourteenth Amendment
  • Jim Crow
  • Jurisdiction
  • Litigation
  • Lyndon B. Johnson
  • Majority Opinion
  • Polling Places
  • Preclearance
  • Rural
  • Shelby County V. Holder
  • State Sovereignty
  • Suppression
  • Supreme Court
  • Voter Discrimination
  • Voter Fraud
  • Voter I D Laws
  • Voter Purge
  • Voter Registration
  • Voting Rights Act Of 1965

Topics

Campaigns & ElectionsCivil Rights & Civil LibertiesFederalism and State IssuesSupreme Court CasesU.S. History

Grades

High SchoolUniversity