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Case Basics
Docket No. 
Monterey County
(Argued the cause for the appellees)
(on behalf of the United States, as amicus curiae, supporting the Appellants)
(Argued the cause for the appellants)
Facts of the Case 

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 requires designated states and political subdivisions to obtain federal pre-clearance before giving effect to changes in their voting laws. Hispanic voters, residing in Monterey County, California, filed suit in federal court claiming the county had failed to obtain the required pre-clearance for a series of ordinances changing the method for electing county judges. A three-judge District Court ultimately dismissed the case because the section of the Voting Rights Act that requires pre-clearance did not cover California. Moreover, California had passed legislation requiring the voting changes forged by Monterey County.


Does the Voting Rights Act's pre-clearance requirement apply to states not explicitly covered by the Act?

Decision: 8 votes for Lopez, 1 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Voting Rights Act of 1965

Yes. In an 8-1 decision, announced by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the Court ruled that the county is covered by the Act's pre-clearance requirement, but the state was not. Justice O'Connor wrote, "We conclude that the county is required to seek pre-clearance before implementing California laws that effect voting changes in that county."

Cite this Page
LOPEZ v. MONTEREY COUNTY. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 26 August 2015. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1998/1998_97_1396>.
LOPEZ v. MONTEREY COUNTY, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1998/1998_97_1396 (last visited August 26, 2015).
"LOPEZ v. MONTEREY COUNTY," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed August 26, 2015, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1998/1998_97_1396.