Supreme Court takes up voting rights, DNA

Nov. 9, 2012 at 5:04 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- The U.S. Supreme Court Friday agreed to take up cases involving voting rights and whether police can legally take DNA samples from suspects.

The high court said it would take up whether Congress exceeded its authority in 2006 when it extended the Voting Rights Act for 25 years. The measure originally was adopted in 1965.

At issue is a section affecting nine states and parts of seven others with a history of racial bias in voting, SCOTUSBlog reported. Those jurisdictions must get approval from the Department of Justice before changing election laws or procedures.

The court accepted a case from Shelby County, Ala., (Shelby County vs. Holder) but said it would limit its review to whether reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act violated the 14th and 15th amendments, as well as the 10th Amendment.

The DNA case (Maryland vs. King) will determine whether an individual's Fourth Amendment rights were violated by police when they took a sample of the suspect's DNA without his consent before conviction.

Among the other cases accepted was one to determine whether a federal judge can impose a longer sentence based on federal sentencing guidelines than the guidelines that were in effect when the crime was committed (Peugh vs. United States).

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