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From Litigation, Legislation, 117 YALE L.J. 1132 (2008)


Brian Landsberg puts lawyers at the center of history. In Free at Last To
Vote: The Alabama Origins of the 1965 Voting Rights Act,1 Landsberg tells the story of the Department of Justice (DOJ) attorneys who spent the early 1960s bringing case after case against recalcitrant local officials in Alabama to enforce the voting rights provisions of the civil rights statutes that preceded the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA). In the popular imagination and in broadly framed historical accounts, the VRA represents the culmination
of grassroots civil rights struggle and hardball national politics. But Landsberg reminds us that a group of dedicated litigators not only helped set the stage for the passage of what scholars call the most successful civil rights law of all time, but also played a critical role in shaping the content of that statute.

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voting rights, litigation