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Voting Right - Essay Example

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“In the field of voting rights, more often than not, the United States Supreme Court has been an enemy of liberty and the right to cast a meaningful vote, and NOT a friend.” This proposition, unfortunately, is truer than most would like to admit. When Thomas Jefferson penned the immortal and historic words “all men are created equal” on the Declaration of Independence, what he really had in mind was that, to him, all Caucasian men who hold property are created equal…
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Voting Right
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Download file to see previous pages However, in the years since the words of the Declaration of Independence were put to parchment, the Supreme Court has, more often than not, shown that it will uphold the status quo of society, and deny the right to vote to women and those of minorities, rather than affirming and advancing it. Though there have been some instances of advancement occurring, they are not as plentiful as those that do not. The list of cases for both protection and denial of voting rights spans not only decades of history, but could also span volumes of pages. As always with multiple examples, there are those that best exemplify things, and I believe that the cases of United States v. Reese in 1876 as well as Minor v. Happersett in 1874 are the best examples of the Supreme Court denying voting rights, while the cases of Smith v. Allwright in 1944 and Baker v. Carr in 1962 are the best examples of both advancing the right to vote and ensuring protection for it. Both United States v. Reese and Minor v. ...
In United States v. Reese, an election inspector, Hiram Reese, had refused to allow William Garner, who was an African-American, to vote in a Lexington, Kentucky election, due to the fact that he had not paid a poll tax of $1.50. In Minor v. Happersett Mrs. Virginia Minor, leader of the suffrage movement for women in Missouri, brought suit against a registration officer when he refused to add her name to the list of registered voters, due to her gender. Garner alleged that he had attempted to pay the poll tax and had been refused, while Mrs. Minor alleged that she was a citizen, and all citizens had the right to vote, therefore she had the right to vote. The Supreme Court in United States v. Reese ruled that the Fifteenth Amendment “does not confer the right of suffrage upon anyone”, meaning that just because he was African American did not mean that Garner had the right to vote. The result of this case was that states were able to continually deny the vote to African Americans, not based on race, but on other requirements such as literacy and nonpayment of poll taxes. In Minor v. Happersett, the Supreme Court went further, stating that though the Fourteenth Amendment gave all citizens the right to vote, and Mrs. Minor was indeed a citizen, the Constitution did not specifically give women the right to vote. This decision was all the more ridiculous because the Constitution did not provide for many things that had since come into existence in the United States and had worked quite well, yet women were still denied the right to vote because it did not exist in the Constitution. Both of these cases are examples of the Supreme Court not only denying the right to vote to citizens of the United States, but acknowledging that legislation existed that could have ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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