Post-Civil War Amendments, Civil Rights and Voting Sandra Smith Gangle League of Women Voters of Clark County
14th Amendment – 1866-1868 Sec. 1 “All persons born or naturalized in the United States . . . are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of the United States. “Nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law, nor . . . deprive any person . . . the equal protection of the laws.” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Intent: to allow all Black men, whether former slaves or free, to claim citizenship – repudiating USSC’s Dred Scott decision (1857). Also, States and Federal gov’t could not deny or restrict civil and legal rights of Blacks under Bill of Rights. Enforcement difficulty: Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) and Jim Crow laws. Later overturned by Brown v. Bd. of Ed. (1954), Griswold v. Conn. (‘65), Loving v. VA (‘67)
Expanding and Restricting the Right to Vote • Fifteenth (1870): The right of citizens . . . to vote shall not be abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color or previous condition of servitude. . . . . 1870 States enact measures such as poll taxes, literary tests, intimidation strategies to limit voter registrations . . . . Susan B. Anthony, Eliz. Stanton, Sojourner Truth, Alice Paul, Lucy Burns advocated for women’s vote over next 50 years; Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire killed 146 women (1911); Wilson finally listen to women’s demand for right to vote . . . . 1876 Supreme Ct. says Native Americans are not citizens, cannot vote . . . . 1882 and 1922 Chinese and Japanese are denied right to naturalization • Nineteenth (1920): The right of citizens . . .to vote shall not be denied or abridged . . . On account of sex.
Expanding and Restricting (cont’d) • Twenty-third (1961): Washington, D.C. residents had right to vote, but no representation in Congress • Twenty-sixth (1971): The right of citizens 18 years old to vote shall not be abridged
Other Voting Rights Issues, Developments • 1963-64: Freedom Summer – Volunteer effort to change voting restrictions led to 24th Amendment – right to vote cannot be contingent on payment of a tax • 1965: Voting Rights Act barred states from imposing discriminatory restrictions on voting; 1975 required materials in foreign languages • 1966: Struggle continues: Violence against James Meredith, Martin Luther King, Jr., Stokely Carmichael; 4,000 African-Americans register • 1993: Voter registration available at DMV, public assistance and disabilities agencies • 2000: Residents of Puerto Rico, Guam, Samoa and US Virgin Is. cannot vote for president and have no representation in Congress, but are citizens
Other Legal Advancements in Civil Rights • 1964: Title VII prohibits race, sex discrimination in employment • 1968: Fair Housing Act • 1972: Title IX, Education Amendments prohibited discrimination in education programs receiving federal support • Equal Credit Opportunity Act abolished sexist bank practices • Pregnancy Discrimination Act • Women’s Educational Equity Act required nonsexist teaching materials, promote math, science, opportunities for girls and women • 1984: No sex discrimination in membership organizations • 1994: Violence Against Women Act funds services for domestic violence victims
What is Not Covered in the Constitution? • Voting Procedures • Boundaries of Representative Districts within states • Requirement of disclosures, i.e. tax returns, property ownership other possible conflicts of interest, by candidates • Truth-telling or fact-checking in communications with voters • Limits on lobbying and other avenues of influence: Citizens United v. FEC case holds that spending is protected speech • Procedures for controlling immigration