• Last updated on November 11, 2022

The Supreme Court upheld the states’ right to impose literacy tests for voting.

An African AmericanAfrican Americans;literacy tests[literacy tests] challenged a state literacy testLiteracy tests that applied to voters of all races. The Supreme Court did not infer that the test was being used to discriminate against minorities and unanimously upheld the state law. In his opinion for the Court, Justice William O. DouglasDouglas, William O.;Lassiter v. Northampton County Board of Elections[Lassiter v. Northampton County Board of Elections] wrote that states had wide latitude in passing laws establishing conditions for suffrage. This decision would seem to have stood in the way of the 1965 Civil Rights Act, which dispatched federal registrars to southern states that often had used literacy tests as a way to prevent African Americans from voting. The Court avoided that problem by asserting in South Carolina v. Katzenbach[case]South Carolina v. Katzenbach[South Carolina v. Katzenbach] (1966) that the pattern of segregation justified special measures under the Fifteenth Amendment.Vote, right to;Lassiter v. Northampton County Board of Elections[Lassiter v. Northampton County Board of Elections]

Elections

Fifteenth Amendment

Fourteenth Amendment

Incorporation doctrine

Representation, fairness of

South Carolina v. Katzenbach

Vote, right to

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