Amdt19.S2.2 Nineteenth Amendment: Doctrine and Practice

Nineteenth Amendment:

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Following the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Fifteenth Amendment, the state courts that passed on the effect of the Amendment ruled that it did not confer upon women the right to vote, but only the right not to be discriminated against on the basis of their sex in the setting of voting qualifications, 1 a formalistic distinction to be sure, but one that has restrained the possible applications of the Amendment. In only one case has the Supreme Court itself dealt with the Amendment’s effect, holding that a Georgia poll tax statute that exempted from payment women who did not register to vote did not discriminate in any manner against the right of men to vote, although it did note that the Amendment applies to men and women alike and by its own force supersedes inconsistent measures, whether federal or State.2

Footnotes

  1.  Jump to essay-1State v. Mittle, 120 S.C. 526 (1922), writ of error dismissed, 260 U.S. 705 (1922); Graves v. Eubank, 205 Ala. 174 (1921); In re Cavelier, 287 N.Y.S. 739 (1936).
  2.  Jump to essay-2Breedlove v. Suttles, 302 U.S. 277 (1937).