In a Voting Rights Act (VRA) action by minority citizens of Washington state who lost their right to vote pursuant to the state's felon disenfranchisement provision, summary judgment for defendants is reversed where: 1) plaintiffs had standing because a decision invalidating Washington's felon disenfranchisement provision would redress plaintiffs' injury in that it would restore their right to vote; 2) a failure to show that a state had a history of discriminatory voting practices did not negate a showing under the VRA that the current voting practice at issue was discriminatory; and 3) plaintiffs demonstrated that racial minorities were overrepresented in the felon population based upon factors that could not be explained by non-racial reasons.
Argued and Submitted April 8, 2008
Filed January 5, 2010
Opinion by Judge Tashima
Dissent by Judge McKeown
Ryan P. Haygood, NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc., New York, NY
Carol Murphy, Deputy Solicitor General, Olympia, WA