Constitution of the United States/Nineteenth Amend.
Nineteenth Amendment Women's Suffrage
Overview[edit | edit source]
The Nineteenth Amendment prohibits the federal and state governments from denying or abridging a U.S. citizen's right to vote on the basis of sex, thereby recognizing women's suffrage. Section 2 of the Amendment grants Congress the power to enforce the prohibitions in Section 1 by enacting "appropriate legislation." The Supreme Court has not decided many cases interpreting the Nineteenth Amendment. Nonetheless, the Amendment has had a significant impact throughout society by helping to increase women's participation in politics and other domains of public life.
As proposed and ratified by men in the late 1780s, the Constitution did not prohibit the states from establishing gender-based restrictions on voting. From the Founding of the United States in 1776 to the end of the Civil War in 1865, none of the states consistently recognized a woman's right to vote in federal or state elections. Nonetheless, in the decades prior to the Civil War, women gained significant experience in organizing and leading political reform movements, including women's suffrage campaigns.
After the Civil War, the states' ratification of the Reconstruction Amendments to the Constitution that aimed to protect African-Americans' civil rights brought new attention to issues of women's rights and suffrage. During the Reconstruction Era, the women's suffrage movement unsuccessfully sought federal recognition of women's voting rights by petitioning Congress and pursuing litigation in federal court. Despite slow progress at the federal level in the late nineteenth century, state-level campaigns succeeded in obtaining full women's voting rights in eleven western states, and partial voting rights in many others, by 1916.
By the late 1910s, as a result of women's suffrage campaigns and shifting views of traditional gender roles during World War I, the political environment became more favorable for the enactment of a women's suffrage amendment. Congress proposed the Nineteenth Amendment in June 1919, and the states ratified it in August 1920.
|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.
Historical Background[edit | edit source]
Women's Suffrage from the Founding Era to the Civil War[edit | edit source]
As proposed and ratified by men in the late 1780s, the Constitution did not prohibit the states from establishing gender-based restrictions on voting. From the Founding of the United States in 1776 to the end of the Civil War in 1865, none of the states consistently recognized a woman's right to vote in federal or state elections. In fact, several state constitutions in existence at the time of the Founding specifically limited suffrage to men. Many women faced additional barriers to voting because of "coverture," a legal doctrine derived from English common law. Coverture denied a married woman a separate legal status from her husband, thereby preventing her from voting.
Although women could not vote in the early 1800s, they actively led and participated in political reform movements. Female activists, many of whom advocated for the abolition of slavery, increasingly wrote and gave speeches in support of women's suffrage. In 1848, two of these activists, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, organized a convention in Seneca Falls, New York, to discuss women's rights.
At this convention of a few hundred women and men, Stanton presented her Declaration of Sentiments, which was modeled after the United States' Declaration of Independence. Stanton's Declaration stated that "all men and women are created equal." The Declaration listed various grievances against the government and the system of coverture, including the denial of women's "inalienable right to the elective franchise." One hundred convention attendees signed this declaration, including Stanton, Mott, and African-American abolitionist Frederick Douglass. Convention attendees also narrowly passed a separate resolution calling for women's suffrage.
After the Seneca Falls Convention, women and men organized other conventions throughout the United States to advocate for women's rights, including suffrage. During the 1850s, some formerly enslaved African-American women, who faced barriers to voting because of race and gender, organized and attended conventions advocating for women's suffrage. These women included Sojourner Truth and Sarah Redmond. As a result of these efforts, in the years leading up to the Civil War, the campaign for women's suffrage attained broader public awareness and support.
The Reconstruction Amendments and Women's Suffrage[edit | edit source]
Shortly after the Civil War, Congress proposed three amendments to the Constitution known as the Reconstruction Amendments that aimed to safeguard African-Americans' civil rights. These are the Thirteenth Amendment, ratified in 1865, which abolished slavery; the Fourteenth Amendment, ratified in 1868, defining the concept of national citizenship and guaranteeing due process and equal protection of the laws to all persons; and the Fifteenth Amendment, ratified in 1870, prohibiting the federal and state governments from restricting a U.S. citizen's eligibility to vote on the basis of "race, color, or previous condition of servitude." The states' ratification of amendments that aimed to protect African-Americans' civil rights brought new attention to issues of women's rights and suffrage.
Debates over the Reconstruction Amendments led to disagreements within the women's suffrage movement. In particular, during congressional debates over the Fifteenth Amendment, the movement's leaders divided over whether to support an amendment that granted African-American men the right to vote but did not address women's suffrage. Believing that the Constitution should not grant voting rights to African-American men unless it also recognized women's suffrage, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony split from the American Equal Rights Association they had founded in 1866 and formed the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) in 1869. NWSA focused its efforts on obtaining federal legislation or a constitutional amendment recognizing women's suffrage. Later in 1869, women's rights activists who supported the Fifteenth Amendment's adoption, including Lucy Stone, founded the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA). AWSA generally adopted a state-by-state approach to seeking voting rights.
Although NWSA and AWSA would later merge in 1890, some women's rights leaders increasingly excluded African-Americans from participation in suffrage events in an effort to gain southern White voters' support. In 1896, African-American women formed a national organization, the National Association of Colored Women (NACW), with Mary Church Terrell as its first president. NACW advocated for women's voting rights and other issues important to African-American women.
Federal and State Campaigns for Women's Voting Rights[edit | edit source]
During the Reconstruction Era, the women's suffrage movement pursued its objectives at both the federal and state levels of government. At the federal level, proponents argued before federal courts and Congress that the Fourteenth Amendment granted women the right to vote. In particular, proponents of women's suffrage theorized that the Fourteenth Amendment's Privileges or Immunities Clause prohibited states from denying women's suffrage. This Clause provides that "[n]o State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States."
In the Supreme Court case Minor v. Happersett, a women's suffrage activist, Virginia Minor, sued a registrar in Missouri who denied her application to vote in the 1872 general election. Minor maintained that, as a citizen of the United States and Missouri, she was entitled to the "privilege" of voting. She argued that the Missouri Constitution and registry law denying her that privilege violated the Fourteenth Amendment.
The Supreme Court agreed that Minor was a natural-born citizen of the United States. However, the Court determined that the right to vote was not one of the "necessary privileges" of citizenship. The Court noted that, at the time of the Constitution's adoption, none of the states allowed all citizens to vote--an arrangement the Framers implicitly accepted. The Court also observed that Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment penalized states that denied the right to vote to "male inhabitants" who were citizens at least twenty-one years of age by reducing their congressional representation. This language, in the Court's view, indicated that suffrage was not an "absolute right of all citizens" under the Constitution. Drawing inferences from the Fourteenth Amendment's text and history, the Court concluded that states could deny voting rights to women.
In addition to pursuing recognition of women's suffrage in federal court, proponents petitioned Congress for legislation requiring the states to recognize women's voting rights. For example, in her 1871 petition to the House Judiciary Committee, Victoria Woodhull maintained that the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments implicitly recognized such rights. Congressional committees rejected Woodhull's petition and many similar petitions during the 1870s. In 1878, Senator Aaron Sargent of California introduced a resolution proposing a suffrage amendment to the Constitution that contained the same prohibition on abridging women's voting rights as the later-ratified Nineteenth Amendment. However, this resolution lacked the political support needed for passage at the time.
Despite setbacks at the federal level, proponents of women's suffrage achieved some progress at the state level during the Reconstruction Era. A few western state governments accorded women full or partial voting rights. For example, in 1869, the Territory of Wyoming--and, later, the State of Wyoming--granted its female citizens full voting rights. Similarly, the Territory of Utah enacted a law granting women the right to vote in 1870. Although Congress legislatively deprived Utah women of this right in 1887, the State of Utah's constitution again recognized women's suffrage in 1896. Michigan granted women limited suffrage, allowing them to vote in school board elections after the Civil War.
Women's Suffrage and the Progressive Era[edit | edit source]
The Progressive Era, which lasted from the late 1890s to the early 1920s, was a period of increased political activism and social reform in the United States. During this era, the National American Woman Suffrage Association initially emphasized state-level efforts to secure voting rights for women. By 1916, women had obtained full voting rights in eleven western states and partial voting rights in many others. Nonetheless, the slow pace of progress at the state level spurred activists such as Carrie Chapman Catt to intensify their efforts to obtain an amendment to the Constitution recognizing women's right to vote. Some suffragists, such as Alice Paul, combined traditional advocacy efforts with more radical forms of protest, including parades, picketing, and hunger strikes in support of a federal amendment.
The year 1917 marked a turning point in the fight for women's suffrage. In that year, the first woman elected to Congress, Representative Jeannette Rankin of Montana, took office. In addition, New York passed a referendum approving women's suffrage, becoming the first eastern state to do so. As the United States entered World War I in April 1917 to fight for democracy abroad, it became more difficult for opponents of women's suffrage to argue that women should be denied a fundamental democratic right at home. By the end of the year, the women's suffrage movement had secured significant political support for a federal amendment, but obtaining the approval of Congress and the state legislatures proved to be a difficult task.
Proposal and Ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment[edit | edit source]
The language that would become the Nineteenth Amendment was first introduced in Congress during the Reconstruction Era. In 1878, Senator Aaron Sargent of California introduced a joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution that would have prohibited the federal and state governments from restricting U.S. citizens' voting rights "on account of sex." This language was modeled after the Fifteenth Amendment's prohibition on race-based voting restrictions. The Senate did not act on Senator Sargent's proposal at the time; however, it later voted down the proposed women's suffrage amendment, as reintroduced, in 1887.
After decades of slow progress at the federal level, the women's suffrage amendment attained a critical level of political support in the late 1910s. In December 1917, Representative John E. Raker of California reintroduced the joint resolution proposing a women's suffrage amendment in the Sixty-Fifth Congress. During the House of Representative's debate on the resolution, proponents argued that women should have the right to vote because they had played a key role in the nation's labor force during World War I. Moreover, U.S. allies, including Great Britain, had already granted suffrage to many women. At least one congressman argued that the extension of the franchise to women would recognize their increasing social and economic independence from their husbands. Proponents also noted that many women paid taxes without having a role in choosing their political representatives.
In general, opponents argued that amending the Constitution to recognize women's suffrage would intrude on each state's authority to determine the composition of its electorate and disrupt the traditional notion of the American family. A few congressmen objected because the Nineteenth Amendment would, at least on paper, enfranchise African-American women. Despite some opposition, the joint resolution narrowly achieved the two-thirds majority needed for passage in the House on January 10, 1918.
The Senate debated the joint resolution for several months in 1918. Senate debates touched on many of the same issues as the House debates, including women's contribution to the war effort, states' rights, and race. In September 1918, shortly before the midterm elections, President Woodrow Wilson gave a speech to the Senate in support of the women's suffrage amendment. President Wilson noted that women supported the nation's fight in World War I and contended that the United States could not fight for democracy abroad while denying women the right to vote at home. In addition to arguing that women's suffrage was key to winning the war, Wilson stated that the resolution of the nation's "great problems" after the war would "depend upon the direct and authoritative participation of women in our counsels." The day after Wilson's speech, on October 1, 1918, the Senate rejected the joint resolution proposing the women's suffrage amendment. The amendment again failed in the Senate during the Sixty-Fifth Congress on February 10, 1919.
In May 1919, after the new Sixty-Sixth Congress convened, President Wilson called a special session of the national legislature to consider a number of issues, including the women's suffrage amendment. Progress in Congress was swift. The House passed the joint resolution proposing the Nineteenth Amendment on May 21, 1919, and the Senate approved it on June 4, 1919. Thereafter, it was sent to the states for ratification. Although the new Congress acted quickly on the Amendment, more than a year elapsed before it attained the three-fourths majority of the states necessary for ratification on August 18, 1920. About a week later, on August 26, U.S. Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby certified the Amendment to have been ratified.
Despite the Nineteenth Amendment's ratification, many African-American women and other female minority groups throughout the United States continued to face significant obstacles to voting, such as poll taxes and literacy tests. These barriers were addressed when the states ratified the Twenty-Fourth Amendment in 1964. Congress then enacted the Voting Rights Act in 1965 to enforce the Fifteenth Amendment.
The Scope of the Nineteenth Amendment[edit | edit source]
The Supreme Court has not decided many cases interpreting the Nineteenth Amendment. In the only significant case addressing the Amendment's effect, Breedlove v. Suttles, the Court upheld a Georgia law that required state residents between the ages of twenty-one and sixty to pay a poll tax. The law exempted women who did not register to vote from paying the tax. However, men between twenty-one and sixty years of age were required to pay the tax, regardless of whether they registered to vote.
A twenty-eight-year-old male who sought to register to vote challenged the law as a violation of the Fourteenth and Nineteenth Amendments. The Court acknowledged that the Nineteenth Amendment protected men's voting rights in addition to women's. However, the Court determined, without much elaboration, that the tax did not deny or abridge a man's right to vote on account of his sex.
Almost three decades later, in Harper v. Virginia State Board of Elections, the Supreme Court overruled Breedlove, determining that imposing a poll tax on voters in state elections violated the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause. The Court held that conditioning a voter's participation in state elections upon payment of a poll tax discriminated against prospective voters based on their wealth. However, in Harper, the Court did not revisit Breedlove's Nineteenth Amendment holding.
Since Breedlove, the Supreme Court has occasionally referenced the Nineteenth Amendment when resolving claims brought under the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process or Equal Protection Clauses. For example, when striking down Georgia's county-unit system for tabulating votes in state primary elections as a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause, the Court suggested that the Nineteenth Amendment stands for "political equality" and illustrates the concept of "one person, one vote."
In a later equal protection case involving the Virginia Military Institute's "male-only" admission policy, the Court traced its application of heightened scrutiny to official actions that deny "rights or opportunities based on sex," in part, to the history of sex discrimination that preceded the Nineteenth Amendment's recognition of women's suffrage.
Although the Court has occasionally referenced the Nineteenth Amendment in its opinions, a number of questions concerning the Amendment's scope remain unresolved. For example, it is unclear whether a successful Nineteenth Amendment claim requires a showing of intentional gender-based discrimination and how far Congress's Section 2 enforcement power extends.
Impact of the Nineteenth Amendment Beyond the Supreme Court[edit | edit source]
Although the Supreme Court has not decided many cases interpreting the Nineteenth Amendment, the Constitution's recognition of women's suffrage has had a significant impact throughout society. As the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg noted at an event celebrating the centennial of the Nineteenth Amendment's ratification, the Amendment "was the first step toward equal-citizenship stature for women" in the political and civil spheres of public life.
In the political domain, the Nineteenth Amendment changed voter demographics by adding millions of potential female voters to the electorate. As a result, many women immediately acquired a direct role in choosing their elected leaders and representatives for the first time. Nonetheless, many African-American women and other female minority groups throughout the United States continued to face significant obstacles to voting even after the Nineteenth Amendment's ratification.
Another visible legacy of the Nineteenth Amendment has been an increase in the number of women holding public office. As a result of the suffrage movement, the Nineteenth Amendment, and other societal developments, the twentieth and twenty-first centuries witnessed a number of electoral "firsts" for women. These included Jeannette Rankin's 1916 election to the House of Representatives; Hattie Wyatt Caraway's 1932 election to the Senate; Nancy Pelosi's 2007 election as Speaker of the House; and Kamala Harris's 2020 election to the vice presidency. At the beginning of the 117th Congress in January 2021, a record number of 151 women took office, accounting for about twenty-eight percent of Congress's total membership.
In addition to increasing women's involvement in politics, the Nineteenth Amendment helped to increase women's participation in other domains of public life. For example, during the twentieth century, women increasingly served on juries, pursued higher education, and entered the work force in the United States. Nonetheless, despite progress on women's rights issues, some advocates, such as the National Woman's Party, continued to campaign for the removal of all "existing sex distinctions" from the law. These advocates sought an amendment to the Constitution that would have guaranteed full legal equality between women and men. This proposed Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was ultimately unsuccessful; however, efforts to obtain an ERA received new attention during the 2020 centennial celebration of the Nineteenth Amendment's ratification.
- Nineteenth Amendment Women's Suffrage.
- Id. § 2. The Supreme Court has held that, because the Nineteenth Amendment is self-executing, its prohibitions became effective upon ratification without the need for further government action. Breedlove v. Suttles, 302 U.S. 277, 283 (1937), overruled in part by Harper v. Va. Bd. of Elections, 383 U.S. 663, 668-669 (1966).
- See Nineteenth Amend.: The Scope of the Nineteenth Amendment.
- See Nineteenth Amend.: Impact of the Nineteenth Amendment Beyond the Supreme Court.
- See Nineteenth Amend.: Women's Suffrage from the Founding Era to the Civil War.
- See id.
- See id.
- See Nineteenth Amend.: The Reconstruction Amendments and Women's Suffrage.
- See id.
- See Nineteenth Amend.: Women's Suffrage and the Progressive Era.
- See id.
- See Nineteenth Amend.: Proposal and Ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment.
- See Minor v. Happersett, 88 U.S. (21 Wall.) 162, 172 (1875), superseded by Nineteenth Amendment Women's Suffrage. In March 1776, only a few months before the United States declared its independence from Great Britain, Abigail Adams wrote to her husband, John Adams, imploring him to "remember the Ladies" when drafting a legal framework for the new government. Letter from Abigail Adams to John Adams, Nat'l Archives (Mar. 31, 1776), . She wrote that if "particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation." Id. John Adams, who was serving as ambassador to Great Britain, did not attend the Constitutional Convention. See Meet the Framers of the Constitution, Nat'l Archives (Mar. 16, 2020), . See also Eleanor Flexner & Ellen F. Fitzpatrick, Century of Struggle: The Woman's Rights Movement in the United States 13-14 (1996).
- Flexner & Fitzpatrick, supra note here, at 8. New Jersey's 1776 constitution permitted some women to vote if they owned a specified amount of property. See N.J. Const. of 1776, art. IV ("That all Inhabitants of this Colony of full Age, who are worth Fifty Pounds proclamation Money clear Estate in the same, & have resided within the County in which they claim a Vote for twelve Months immediately preceding the Election, shall be entitled to vote for Representatives in Council & Assembly; and also for all other publick Officers that shall be elected by the People of the County at Large."). However, in 1807, the New Jersey legislature enacted a law denying women and African-Americans the right to vote. See Did You Know: Women and African Americans Could Vote in NJ before the 15th and 19th Amendments?, Nat'l Park Serv. (July 3, 2018), .
- See Minor, 88 U.S. at 172-73 (listing provisions of state constitutions addressing voter qualifications at the time of the Founding).
- Coverture, Black's Law Dictionary 446 (10th ed. 2014).
- Id. See also 1 William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England 430-33 (1765) ("By marriage, the husband and wife are one person in law: that is, the very being or legal existence of the woman is suspended during the marriage, or at least is incorporated and consolidated into that of the husband . . . ."). Unless a woman obtained her husband's permission, the common law imposed significant restrictions on her ability to own property, enter into contracts, or sue in court. See id.
- The Kentucky Legislature granted some "women who were heads of households and taxpayers" the right to vote on education-related issues from 1838 to 1902. Kentucky and the Nineteenth Amendment, Nat'l Park Serv. (Sept. 3, 2019), .
- Flexner & Fitzpatrick, supra note here, at 38. See also Sandra Day O'Connor, The History of the Women's Suffrage Movement, 49 Vand. L. Rev. 657, 658 (1996).
- See O'Connor, supra note here, at 658.
- Seneca Falls and Building a Movement, 1776-1890, Libr. of Cong.,  (last visited Feb. 10, 2023). See also 1 History of Woman Suffrage 63-75 (Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony & Matilda Joslyn Gage, eds., 1887), .
- Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Declaration of Sentiments, Nat'l Park Serv. (Feb. 7, 2023), .
- Id. (emphasis added).
- 1 History of Woman Suffrage, supra note here, at 73. The women's suffrage resolution passed by a "small majority" because some attendees believed it was not a "rational" course of action at the time. Id.
- O'Connor, supra note here, at 660. See also Flexner & Fitzpatrick, supra note here, at 76.
- Sharon Harley, African-American Women and the Nineteenth Amendment, Nat'l Park Serv. (Apr. 10, 2019), .
- O'Connor, supra note here, at 660.
- See Thirteenth Amendment Abolition of Slavery.
- See Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection and Other Rights.
- See Fifteenth Amendment Right of Citizens to Vote.
- Sandra Day O'Connor, The History of the Women's Suffrage Movement, 49 Vand. L. Rev. 657, 660-61 (1996).
- Sharon Harley, African-American Women and the Nineteenth Amendment, Nat'l Park Serv. (Apr. 10, 2019), . Congressional debates over the Fourteenth Amendment also touched upon issues of women's suffrage. As ratified, the Fourteenth Amendment did not specifically address women's suffrage, but Section 2 generally penalized states that restricted the voting rights of "male inhabitants" who were citizens at least twenty-one years of age by reducing the states' congressional representation. See Fourteenth Amend., Section 2 Apportionment of Representation, superseded in part by id. amend. XIX.
- The Women's Rights Movement, 1848-1917, U.S. House of Rep., https://history.house.gov/Exhibitions-and-Publications/WIC/Historical-Essays/No-Lady/Womens-Rights/ (last visited Feb. 10, 2023).
- Harley, supra note here.
- See, e.g., Minor v. Happersett, 88 U.S. (21 Wall.) 162, 165 (1875), superseded by Nineteenth Amendment Women's Suffrage. In the 1872 presidential election, Susan B. Anthony cast a ballot in Rochester, New York. She was arrested and charged with illegally voting in violation of federal law. She unsuccessfully claimed that the Fourteenth Amendment gave her the right to vote as a privilege of citizenship. A federal district court imposed a fine of $100 on Anthony, but she never paid it. See United States v. Anthony, 24 F. Cas. 829, 830-33; Susan B. Anthony and the Struggle for Suffrage, Nat'l Archives (Aug. 15, 2016), .
- Fourteenth Amend., Section 1 Rights.
- Minor, 88 U.S. at 165.
- Id. at 165, 170.
- Id. at 177-78.
- Id. at 172-73.
- Id. at 174-75.
- Id. at 177-78. Since the 1970s, the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause has played a role in combating gender discrimination by subjecting gender-based classifications to intermediate scrutiny. See generally Craig v. Boren, 429 U.S. 190, 197 (1976). See also Fourteenth Amend., Sec. 1: General Approach to Gender Classifications.
- See H.R. Rep. No. 41-22, at 1 (1871).
- See id. See also, e.g., Petition for Woman Suffrage, U.S. House of Rep., .
- See S. Rep. No. 45-523 (1878) (discussing S. Res. 12, 45th Cong., 2d Sess. (1878)).
- Wyoming and the 19th Amendment, Nat'l Park Serv. (Aug. 22, 2019), .
- Women's Suffrage in Utah, Nat'l Park Serv. (May 30, 2021), .
- Michigan and the 19th Amendment, Nat'l Park Serv. (Aug. 9, 2019), .
- See Women's Suffrage in the Progressive Era, Libr. of Cong.,  (last visited Feb. 10, 2023).
- For more information on NAWSA's formation as result of the merger of the National Woman Suffrage Association and the American Woman Suffrage Association, see Nineteenth Amend.: The Reconstruction Amendments and Women's Suffrage.
- Eleanor Flexner & Ellen F. Fitzpatrick, Century of Struggle: The Woman's Rights Movement in the United States 208-13 (1996).
- Katie Anastas & James Gregory, Timeline and Map of Woman Suffrage Legislation State by State 1838-1919, Univ. of Wash.,  (last visited Feb. 10, 2023). As the creators of this timeline and map note, "many state legislatures were persuaded to allow partial voting rights, typically limited to school elections or the right to vote only in municipal or presidential elections." Id. Article I, Section 2, Clause 1 of the Constitution gave states the ability to determine voter qualifications for congressional elections based on the qualifications required to vote in state elections. See Art. I, Sec. 2, Cl. 1: Voter Qualifications for House of Representatives Elections.
- Flexner & Fitzpatrick, supra note here, at 271-74.
- Id. at 255-56, 262.
- Id. at 275-76.
- Id. at 276. Montana had granted women equal suffrage rights in 1914. See Montana and the 19th Amendment, Nat'l Park Serv. (Aug. 19, 2019), .
- Flexner & Fitzpatrick, supra note here, at 282.
- Id. at 280.
- See Nineteenth Amend.: Proposal and Ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment.
- See S. Rep. No. 45-523 (1878) (discussing S. Res. 12, 45th Cong., 2d Sess. (1878)). An earlier suffrage amendment, introduced in 1868 by Senator Samuel Pomeroy of Kansas, would have granted suffrage on the basis of citizenship. S.J. Res. 180, 40th Cong., 3rd Sess. (1868) ("The basis of suffrage in the United States shall be that of citizenship, and all native or naturalized citizens shall enjoy the same rights and privileges of the elective franchise . . . ."). This bill was never acted upon. See Cong. Globe, 40th Cong., 3rd Sess. 38 (1868). Another early suffrage amendment, introduced by Representative George W. Julian of Indiana, would have provided that suffrage "shall be based on citizenship, and shall be regulated by Congress," and all U.S. citizens "shall enjoy this right equally, without any distinction or discrimination whatever founded on sex." H.R.J. Res. 15, 41st Cong., 1st Sess. (1869).
- Compare S. Res. 12, 45th Cong., 2d Sess. (1878), with Fifteenth Amendment Right of Citizens to Vote.
- 18 Cong. Rec. 1002-03 (1887). During the late 1800s, several House and Senate committee reports recommended the passage of joint resolutions proposing a women's suffrage amendment. For example, in 1882, the Senate Committee on Woman Suffrage reported a suffrage amendment favorably, stating that "to deny to one-half of the citizens of the republic all participation in framing the laws by which they are to be governed, simply on account of their sex, is political despotism to those who are excluded, and 'taxation without representation' to such of them as have property liable to taxation." S. Rep. No. 47-686, at 1-6 (1882).
- Eleanor Flexner & Ellen F. Fitzpatrick, Century of Struggle: The Woman's Rights Movement in the United States 275-76 (1996). See also Nineteenth Amend.: Women's Suffrage and the Progressive Era.
- H.R.J. Res. 200, 65th Cong., 2d Sess. (1917).
- E.g., 56 Cong. Rec. 765 (1918).
- E.g., id.
- Id. at 788.
- See id. at 765.
- Id. at 764.
- Id. at 785.
- Id. at 766.
- Id. at 810.
- See, e.g., id. at 10977-81.
- Id. at 10928-29.
- Id. at 10987-88. The joint resolution failed to attain the two-thirds majority required to propose an amendment to the Constitution.Id.
- 57 Cong. Rec. 3062 (1919).
- Flexner & Fitzpatrick, supra note here, at 307.
- 58 Cong. Rec. 93-94 (1919).
- Id. at 635.
- See Joint Resolution Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution Extending the Right of Suffrage to Women, H.R.J. Res. 1, 66th Cong., 1st Sess., 41 Stat. 362 (1919).
- The Amendment became law when Tennessee ratified it. Tennessee and the Nineteenth Amendment, Nat'l Park Serv. (July 31, 2020), .
- Amendment to the Constitution, 1920, 41 Stat. 1823 (1920).
- The Twenty-Fourth Amendment prohibits the federal and state governments from conditioning a U.S. citizen's right to vote in federal elections on payment of a poll tax or "other tax." See Twenty-Fourth Amendment Abolition of Poll Tax.
- 52 U.S.C. §§ 10101-10702. See also Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: Women's Right to Vote, Nat'l Archives, .
- In the 1922 case Leser v. Garnett, the Supreme Court rejected Maryland voters' arguments that the Nineteenth Amendment had not become part of the Constitution. 258 U.S. 130, 136-37 (1922) (rejecting, among other arguments, Maryland voters' contention that the people of a state could deprive the state's legislature of the power to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment by enacting state constitutional provisions that limited suffrage to men). See also Fairchild v. Hughes, 258 U.S. 126, 127-30 (1922) (holding that federal courts lacked jurisdiction to rule upon a taxpayer's challenge to the procedures by which the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified). The Fairchild plaintiff sought an injunction to prevent the Secretary of State from proclaiming the ratification of the amendment and the U.S. Attorney General from enforcing it. Id.
- 302 U.S. 277, 279-80 (1937), overruled by Harper v. Va. State Bd. of Elections, 383 U.S. 663, 668-69 (1966).
- Breedlove, 302 U.S. at 279-80. The law also exempted blind people from paying the tax. Id.
- See id.
- Id. at 280.
- Id. at 283.
- Id. at 283-84. The Court also rejected the plaintiff's challenges under the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection and Privileges or Immunities Clauses. Id. at 282.
- 383 U.S. 663, 670 (1966). The Twenty-Fourth Amendment, ratified in 1964, prohibits the federal and state governments from conditioning a U.S. citizen's right to vote in federal elections on payment of a poll tax or "other tax." See Twenty-Fourth Amendment Abolition of Poll Tax.
- Harper, 383 U.S. at 668-70 ("[W]ealth or fee paying has, in our view, no relation to voting qualifications; the right to vote is too precious, too fundamental to be so burdened or conditioned.").
- E.g., Gray v. Sanders, 372 U.S. 368, 381 (1963). See also Adkins v. Children's Hosp., 261 U.S. 525, 553, 561-62 (1923) (striking down a federal law that set a minimum wage for women employed in the private sector as a violation of the Fifth Amendment's substantive due process guarantee of liberty to contract and noting "the great . . . changes which have taken place . . . in the contractual, political and civil status of women, culminating in the Nineteenth Amendment" such that differences between women and men had "come almost, if not quite, to the vanishing point"), overruled by W. Coast Hotel v. Parrish, 300 U.S. 379, 400 (1937).
- United States v. Virginia, 518 U.S. 515, 531 (1996) ("Today's skeptical scrutiny of official action denying rights or opportunities based on sex responds to volumes of [a history of sex discrimination] . . . . Through a century plus three decades and more of [American] history, women did not count among voters composing 'We the People'; not until 1920 did women gain a constitutional right to the franchise." (internal citations and quotation marks omitted)). Since the 1970s, the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause has played a role in combating gender discrimination by subjecting gender-based classifications to intermediate scrutiny. See, e.g., Craig v. Boren, 429 U.S. 190, 197-98 (1976). See also Fourteenth Amend., Sec. 1: General Approach to Gender Classifications.
- See Jones v. Governor of Fla., 15 F.4th 1062, 1067-68 (11th Cir. 2021).
- See, e.g., Richard L. Hasen & Leah M. Litman, Thin and Thick Conceptions of the Nineteenth Amendment Right to Vote and Congress's Power to Enforce It, 108 Geo. L.J. 19th Amend. Special Edition 27, 50 (2020).
- See Nineteenth Amend.: The Scope of the Nineteenth Amendment
- Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Searching for Equality: The Nineteenth Amendment and Beyond, A Conversation Between United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge M. Margaret McKeown, 108 Geo. L.J. 19th Amend. Special Edition 5, 10 (2020).
- Sherrilyn Ifill, Foreword, 110 Geo. L.J. 1255, 1262 (2022).
- Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: Women's Right to Vote, Nat'l Archives (Feb. 8, 2022), . State laws continued to impose barriers to voting by African-Americans, Native Americans, Asian-Americans, immigrants, and other minority groups for decades until Congress's enactment of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and other federal laws. See id.; Voting Rights After the Nineteenth Amendment, Nat'l Park Serv. (Dec. 4, 2019), .
- Biography of Jeannette Rankin, U.S. House of Rep.,  (last visited Feb. 10, 2023). Jeannette Rankin was elected to the House of Representatives almost four years before the Nineteenth Amendment's ratification. Id.
- Biography of Hattie Wyatt Caraway, U.S. House of Rep.,  (last visited Feb. 10, 2023). Hattie Wyatt Caraway had previously been appointed to the Senate seat that her husband vacated when he died. Id.
- Biography of Nancy Pelosi, U.S. House of Rep.,  (last visited Feb. 10, 2023).
- Kamala Harris, Vice President-Elect Acceptance Speech, ABC News (Nov. 7, 2020),  (recognizing "all the women who have worked to secure and protect the right to vote for over a century," including those who advocated for the Nineteenth Amendment and Voting Rights Act of 1965).
- Jennifer E. Manning, Cong. Rsch. Serv., R46705, Membership of the 117th Congress: A Profile (2022),  (This statistic includes three women who took office as congressional delegates and one woman who took office as the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico).
- Ginsburg, supra note here, at 10, 16.
- Reva B. Siegel, Home As Work: The First Woman's Rights Claims Concerning Wives' Household Labor, 1850-1880, 103 Yale L.J. 1073, 1209 n.549 (1994).
- See id. After more than fifty years of advocacy campaigns, Congress proposed the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in 1972. Joint Resolution Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of the United States Relative to Equal Rights for Men and Women, H.R.J. Res. 208, 92nd Cong., 2nd Sess, 86 Stat. 1523-24 (1972). The amendment would have provided that "equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex." Id. However, the amendment did not attain the necessary number of state ratifications by Congress's imposed deadlines. See also What Happened After?: Women's History, Nat'l Park Serv. (Aug. 15, 2019), .
- Ginsburg, supra note here, at 10.