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Billed as

the fastest growing county in the State of Alabama

Nestled right splat on the belly button of the State of Alabama, things are a happening there, like a voter rights case, a battle over constitutionality (a favored argument these days in the deep South) pending in the beginning of 2012 in the U.S. Court of Appeals, Washington DC on account of because Shelby County retained a high-powered DC lobbyist legal firm, Wiley Rein & Fielding, which would guarantee a DC appellate circuit hearing.

Lawyers for an Alabama county that is challenging a controversial section of the Voting Rights Act have asked a federal appeals court in Washington to strike down a judge's ruling that upheld the constitutionality of the law.

Judge John Bates of U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in September ruled for the Justice Department in its defense of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The section requires some states and localities to get permission before implementing election-related changes.

Section 5, according to the Justice Department, was set up to ensure that changes do not harm minority voting rights. Congress extended the Voting Rights Act in 2006 another 25 years. Shelby County, Ala., sued the Justice Department last year.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, where the case is now pending, will hear the case Jan. 19. The U.S. Supreme Court has not weighed in on the constitutionality of Section 5, but the high court has said the section raises “serious” constitutional questions.


Wiley Rein & Fielding, the DC lobbyist legal firm, has an outstanding history of the defense of "faking it":
In October 2006, Wiley Rein & Fielding law and lobby firm filed an appeal with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), on behalf of the Radio-Television News Directors Association (RTNDA), asking the agency to halt its investigation of 77 television stations found to have aired video news releases (VNRs) without disclosure. ...

Interestingly, at least one WRF lawyer's interpretation of the FCC's April 2005 Public Notice on VNRs was substantially different than what the firm's October 2006 filing stated. In early 2005, WRF partner Rosemary Harold told Advertising Age that "What the FCC is saying is if it appears that someone got paid for putting it together and it's run in its entirety, even if furnished free to the stations, then it should be identified" (Ira Teinowitz and Matthew Creamer, "Fake news videos unmasked in FCC crackdown: Forced disclosure of VNR sources deals blow to controversial PR tactic," Advertising Age, April 18, 2005).

In March 1994, WRF authored a brief on behalf of the Media Institute, filed with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The brief was in support of an earlier Washington Legal Foundation filing, urging the FDA to not regulate pharmaceutical companies' promotion of off-label uses for drugs. "Far from being harmful, drug company distribution of information about off-label uses of their products 'can be a positive force,'" the filing claimed, according to a May 1994 article by James G. Dickinson in Medical Marketing & Media....

The interesting bios of the founders of WRF:

Founding partners
Richard E. Wiley
, former Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.

Bert W. Rein, former director of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and was involved in Richard M. Nixon's 1968 campaign, as well as in the transition team to Reagan's first term.

Fred F. Fielding, former Counsel to the President, 1981-1986. Fielding left in February 2007, "to become a counselor to President George W. Bush."


A brief note must be added on the term "off-label""
Off-label use is the practice of prescribing pharmaceuticals for an unapproved indication or in an unapproved age group, unapproved dose or unapproved form of administration. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) reviews a company's New Drug Application (NDA) for data from clinical trials to see if the results support the drug for a specific use or indication. If satisfied that the drug is safe and effective, the drug's manufacturer and the FDA agree on specific language describing dosage, route of administration, and other information to be included on the drug's label. More detail is included in the drug's package insert.

Wikipedia

In regard to the pending voter case, WRF argues that there’s nothing in the legislative record from 2006 that shows a “systemic campaign of voting discrimination and gamesmanship by the covered jurisdictions.”

Au contraire, argues Judge John Bates of the DC District Court:

instances of voting discrimination  ... “took place not in the 1950s or 1960s, but in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s.” DOJ and civil rights advocates heralded Bates’ decision in the case.

According to the  NYTimes:
In his opinion, Judge John D. Bates of Federal District Court, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, laid out much of the evidence that Congress had used to justify its 2006 extension.

This evidence included the fact that, from 1982 to 2006, hundreds of objections to proposed voting changes had been lodged by the attorney general’s office, tens of thousands of federal observers had been sent to monitor voting in the covered areas and at least 14 cases had been reported of judicial findings of intentional discrimination.

The judge also included several anecdotal examples of discrimination from the past 25 years, mentioning openly racist lawmakers and poll officials, an episode in Alabama where the doors to polling places were shut early to keep blacks out and several instances of discrimination in the redistricting process that took place early in last decade.

A town in Shelby County had recently been the subject of a federal objection when, in 2008, it drew up a City Council redistricting plan that eliminated the city’s sole majority-black district, which had elected black councilmen for 18 years.


Also check out a more detailed examination of the challenge at FairVote.

Footnote: Just so's I can repost this under ALEC EXPOSED:

Does Your State Tax Access To The Internet: Did You Vote For That?
By Lee E. Goodman
.... Lee E. Goodman is an attorney with Wiley Rein & Fielding, LLP in Washington DC where he advises technology, internet and entertainment companies on Internet tax policy as well as laws regulating the use of of the Internet for political purposes. He currently serves on the Virginia General Assembly's Joint Committee to Study the Economic Effects of Remote Sales Collection. Mr. Goodman previously served as legal and policy counsel to the Governor of Virginia (1998-2002) and chief of staff to the Chairman of the Congressional Advisory Council on Electric Commerce (1999-2002).
American Legislative Exchange Council

Originally posted to Karen Hedwig Backman on Thu Nov 03, 2011 at 11:06 AM PDT.

Also republished by Exposing ALEC.

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