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Video: Supreme Arguments
CHESTERTOWN, MD—Speaking April 2 as part of the George Washington Leadership Series at Washington College, attorney Bert Rein shared insights into two high-profile cases he argued before the Supreme Court—one questioning affirmative action policies in university admissions, the other challenging a key part of the Civil Rights Act of 1965. Decisions were handed down on both cases this week.
In his talk, Rein outlined how cases reach the nation’s highest court before discussing the specific arguments of the two cases. In Fisher v. University of Texas, his client was a white student who claimed she was denied admission to the University in favor of minority applicants with lesser credentials. On June 24, the Supreme Court sent the case back to the Circuit Court, upholding the principle of affirmative action in pursuit of a diverse student body but requiring strict standards for its use.
Rein argued on behalf of Shelby County, Ala., in Shelby County v. Holder, a constitutional challenge to a section of the U.S. Voting Rights Act that requires many state and local governments, mostly in the South, to obtain permission from the U.S. Justice Department before changing voting procedures or electoral maps. The Court’s divided decision, announced June 25, agreed that times and racial attitudes have changed and that Congress must create new standards for determining which jurisdictions would require continued oversight.
Rein, who owns a home in Chestertown, is founding partner of the Washington, D.C.-based firm Wiley Rein.
In the video, Rein begins his comments on Fisher v. University of Texas about 13 minutes into the video. He turns to Shelby County v. Holder at about the 33-minute mark.