Briscoe v. Bell
432 U.S. 404 (1977)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Briscoe v. Bell, 432 U.S. 404 (1977)

Briscoe v. Bell

No. 76-60

Argued April 20, 1977

Decided June 20, 1977

432 U.S. 404

Syllabus

The provision of § 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that a determination of the Attorney General or Director of the Census that a State is covered by the Act "shall not be reviewable in any court" held absolutely to preclude judicial review of such a determination. Hence the District Court and Court of Appeals erred in holding that they had jurisdiction to review petitioners' claims that the Attorney General and Director of the Census (respondents) had erroneously applied § 4(b) in determining that Texas is covered by the 1975 amendments to the Act extending its protections to language minorities, such as Mexican-Americans. A "bailout" suit under § 4(a) to terminate coverage is Texas' sole remedy. Pp. 432 U. S. 409-415.

(a) Such construction of § 4(b) is supported by its language and legislative history and by the Act's structure and its purpose to eradicate voting discrimination with all possible speed, as well as by this Court's interpretations of the Act. See South Carolina v. Katzenbach,383 U. S. 301; Gaston County v. United States,395 U. S. 285; Morris v. Gressette, post, p. 432 U. S. 491. Pp. 432 U. S. 410-414.

(b) While the finality of determinations under § 4(b) may be "an uncommon exercise of congressional power," South Carolina v. Katzenbach, supra at 383 U. S. 335, nevertheless in attacking the pervasive evils and tenacious defenders of voting discrimination, Congress acted within its "power to enforce" the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments "by appropriate legislation." Pp. 432 U. S. 414-415.

175 U.S.App.D.C. 297, 535 F.2d 1259, vacated and remanded.

MARSHALL, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BURGER, C.J., and BRENNAN, STEWART, WHITE, BLACKMUN, REHNQUIST, and STEVENS, JJ., joined. POWELL, J., concurred in the judgment.

Page 432 U. S. 405

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