Supreme Court to review voting rights, DNA and AMEX cases

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to review a legal challenge to the Voting Rights Act, consider when a state may collect DNA from criminal suspects and hear an appeal from American Express over an arbitration clause to prevent antitrust lawsuits.

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to review a legal challenge to the Voting Rights Act, a landmark law adopted in 1965 to protect African-American voters who had faced decades of discrimination at the polls.

The high court accepted an appeal brought by Shelby County, Alabama, challenging a core provision of the act that requires nine states and several local governments with a history of bias to get federal permission to change their election procedures.

The Court also agreed to consider whether a state may collect DNA samples from people who were arrested but not yet convicted of violent crimes.

Maryland is appealing an April 24 decision by the state Court of Appeals overturning the conviction and life sentence of Alonzo Jay King for a rape committed before his 2009 arrest for assault.

A DNA sample taken following the arrest without a warrant linked him to the earlier crime.

Finally, the Court agreed to consider whether American Express Co. may invoke an arbitration clause to prevent its merchant customers from banding together in an antitrust lawsuit against the company.

The court accepted the credit card and travel services company's appeal from a February ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York that found the arbitration clause unenforceable.

A decision could determine the extent to which companies might rely on arbitration clauses to fend off federal class-action lawsuits.