Oregon v. Mitchell/Opinion of the Court
MR. JUSTICE BLACK, announcing the judgments of the Court in an opinion expressing his own view of the cases.
In these suits, certain States resist compliance with the Voting Rights Act Amendments of 1970, Pub.L. 91-285, 84 Stat. 314, because they believe that the Act takes away from them powers reserved to the States by the Constitution to control their own elections.  By its terms, the Act does three things. First: it lowers the minimum age of voters in both state and federal elections from 21 to 18. Second: based upon a finding by Congress that literacy tests have been used to discriminate against voters on account of their color, the Act enforces the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments by barring the use of such tests in all elections, state and national, for a five-year period. Third: the Act forbids States from disqualifying voters in national elections for presidential and vice-presidential electors because they have not met state residency requirements.
For the reasons set out in Part I of this opinion, I believe Congress can fix the age of voters in national elections, such as congressional, senatorial, vice-presidential [p118] and presidential elections, but cannot set the voting age in state and local elections. For reasons expressed in separate opinions, my Brothers DOUGLAS, BRENNAN, WHITE, and MARSHALL join me in concluding that Congress can enfranchise 18-year-old citizens in national elections, but dissent from the judgment that Congress cannot extend the franchise to 18-year-old citizens in state and local elections. For reasons expressed in separate opinions, my Brothers THE CHIEF JUSTICE, HARLAN, STEWART, and BLACKMUN join me in concluding that Congress cannot interfere with the age for voters set by the States for state and local elections. They, however, dissent from the judgment that Congress can control voter qualifications in federal elections. In summary, it is the judgment of the Court that the 18-year-old vote provisions of the Voting Rights Act Amendments of 1970 are constitutional and enforceable insofar as they pertain to federal elections, and unconstitutional and unenforceable insofar as they pertain to state and local elections.
For the reasons set out in Part II of this opinion, I believe that Congress, in the exercise of its power to enforce the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, can prohibit the use of literacy tests or other devices used to discriminate against voters on account of their race in both state and federal elections. For reasons expressed in separate opinions, all of my Brethren join me in this judgment. Therefore the literacy-test provisions of the Act are upheld.
For the reasons set out in Part III of this opinion, I believe Congress can set residency requirements and provide for absentee balloting in elections for presidential and vice-presidential electors. For reasons expressed in separate opinions, my Brothers THE CHIEF JUSTICE, DOUGLAS, BRENNAN, STEWART, WHITE, MARSHALL, and BLACKMUN concur in this judgment. My Brother [p119] HARLAN, for the reasons stated in his separate opinion, considers that the residency provisions of the statute are unconstitutional. Therefore the residency and absentee balloting provisions of the Act are upheld.
Let judgments be entered accordingly.
The Framers of our Constitution provided in Art. I, § 2, that members of the House of Representatives should be elected by the people and that the voters for Representatives should have "the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature." Senators were originally to be elected by the state legislatures, but, under the Seventeenth Amendment, Senators are also elected by the people, and voters for Senators have the same qualifications as voters for Representatives. In the very beginning, the responsibility of the States for setting the qualifications of voters in congressional elections was made subject to the power of Congress to make or alter such regulations if it deemed it advisable to do so.  This was done in Art. I, § 4, of the Constitution, which provides:
- The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be [p120] prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.
(Emphasis supplied.) Moreover, the power of Congress to make election regulations in national elections is augmented by the Necessary and Proper Clause. See McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat. 316 (1819). In United States v. Classic, 313 U.S. 299 (1941), where the Court upheld congressional power to regulate party primaries, Mr. Justice Stone, speaking [p121] for the Court, construed the interrelation of these clauses of the Constitution, stating:
- While, in a loose sense, the right to vote for representatives in Congress is sometimes spoken of as a right derived from the states . . . , this statement is true only in the sense that the states are authorized by the Constitution to legislate on the subject as provided by § 2 of Art. I, to the extent that Congress has not restricted state action by the exercise of its powers to regulate elections under § 4 and its more general power under Article I, § 8, clause 18 of the Constitution "to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers."
313 U.S. at 315. See also Ex parte Siebold, 100 U.S. 371 (1880); Ex parte Yarbrough, 110 U.S. 651 (1884); Swafford v. Templeton, 185 U.S. 487 (1902); Wiley v. Sinkler, 179 U.S. 58 (1900)
The breadth of power granted to Congress to make or alter election regulations in national elections, including the qualifications of voters, is demonstrated by the fact that the Framers of the Constitution and the state legislatures which ratified it intended to grant to Congress the power to lay out or alter the boundaries of the congressional districts. In the ratifying conventions, speakers
- argued that the power given Congress in Art. I, § 4, was meant to be used to vindicate the people's right to equality of representation in the House,
Wesberry v. Sanders, 376 U.S. 1, 16 (1964), and that Congress would "‘most probably . . . lay the state off into districts.'" And in Colegrove v. Green, 328 U.S. 549 (1946), no Justice of this Court doubted Congress' power to rearrange the congressional districts according to population; the fight in that case revolved about the judicial power to compel redistricting. [p122]
Surely no voter qualification was more important to the Framers than the geographical qualification embodied in the concept of congressional districts. The Framers expected Congress to use this power to eradicate "rotten boroughs,"  and Congress has, in fact, used its power to prevent States from electing all Congressmen at large.  There can be no doubt that the power to alter congressional district lines is vastly more significant in its effect than the power to permit 18-year-old citizens to go to the polls and vote in all federal elections.
Any doubt about the powers of Congress to regulate congressional elections, including the age and other qualifications of the voters, should be dispelled by the opinion of this Court in Smiley v. Holm, 285 U.S. 355 (1932). There, Chief Justice Hughes, writing for a unanimous Court, discussed the scope of congressional power under § 4 at some length. He said:
- The subject matter is the "times, places and manner of holding elections for Senators and Representatives." It cannot be doubted that these comprehensive words embrace authority to provide a complete code for congressional elections, not only as to times and places, but in relation to notices, registration, supervision of voting, protection of voters, prevention of fraud and corrupt practices, counting of votes, duties of inspectors and canvassers, and making and publication of election returns; in short, to enact the numerous requirements as to procedure and safeguards which experience shows are necessary in order to enforce the fundamental right involved. . . .
- This view is confirmed by the second clause of Article I, section 4, which provides that "the Congress [p123] may at any time by law make or alter such regulations," with the single exception stated. The phrase "such regulations" plainly refers to regulations of the same general character that the legislature of the State is authorized to prescribe with respect to congressional elections. In exercising this power, the Congress may supplement these state regulations or may substitute its own. . . . It "has a general supervisory power over the whole subject."
Id. at 366-367.
In short, the Constitution allotted to the States the power to make laws regarding national elections, but provided that, if Congress became dissatisfied with the state laws, Congress could alter them.  A newly created national government could hardly have been expected to survive without the ultimate power to rule itself and to fill its offices under its own laws. The Voting Rights Act Amendments of 1970, now before this Court, [p124] evidence dissatisfaction of Congress with the voting age set by many of the States for national elections. I would hold, as have a long line of decisions in this Court, that Congress has ultimate supervisory power over congressional elections.  Similarly, it is the prerogative of Congress to oversee the conduct of presidential and vice-presidential elections and to set the qualifications for voters for electors for those offices. It cannot be seriously contended that Congress has less power over the conduct of presidential elections than it has over congressional elections. 
On the other hand, the Constitution was also intended to preserve to the States the power that even the Colonies had to establish and maintain their own separate and independent governments, except insofar as the Constitution itself commands otherwise. My Brother HARLAN has persuasively demonstrated that the Framers of the Constitution intended the States to keep for themselves, [p125] as provided in the Tenth Amendment,  the power to regulate elections. My major disagreement with my Brother HARLAN is that, while I agree as to the States' power to regulate the elections of their own officials, I believe, contrary to his view, that Congress has the final authority over federal elections. No function is more essential to the separate and independent existence of the States and their governments than the power to determine, within the limits of the Constitution, the qualifications of their own voters for state, county, and municipal offices and the nature of their own machinery for filling local public offices. Pope v. Williams, 193 U.S. 621 (194); Minor v. Happersett, 21 Wall. 162 (1875). Moreover, Art. I, § 2,  is a clear indication that the Framers intended the States to determine the qualifications of their own voters for state offices, because those qualifications were adopted for federal offices unless Congress directs otherwise under Art. I, § 4. It is a plain fact of history that the Framers never imagined that the national Congress would set the qualifications for voters in every election from President to local constable or village alderman. It is obvious that the whole Constitution reserves to the States the power to set voter qualifications in state and local elections, except to the limited extent that the people, through constitutional amendments, have specifically narrowed the powers of the States. Amendments Fourteen, Fifteen, Nineteen, and Twenty-four, each of which has assumed that the States had general supervisory power [p126] over state elections, are examples of express limitations on the power of the States to govern themselves. And the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment was never intended to destroy the States' power to govern themselves, making the Nineteenth and Twenty-fourth Amendments superfluous. My Brother BRENNAN's opinion, if carried to its logical conclusion, would, under the guise of insuring equal protection, blot out all state power, leaving the 50 States as little more than impotent figureheads. In interpreting what the Fourteenth Amendment means, the Equal Protection Clause should not be stretched to nullify the States' powers over elections which they had before the Constitution was adopted and which they have retained throughout our history.
Of course, the original design of the Founding Fathers was altered by the Civil War Amendments and various other amendments to the Constitution. The Thirteenth, Fourteenth, Fifteenth, and Nineteenth Amendments have expressly authorized Congress to "enforce" the limited prohibitions of those amendments by "appropriate legislation." The Solicitor General contends in these cases that Congress can set the age qualifications for voters in state elections under its power to enforce the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Above all else, the framers of the Civil War Amendments intended to deny to the States the power to discriminate against persons on account of their race. Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967); Gomillion v. Lightfoot, 364 U.S. 339 (1960); Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954); Slaughter-House Cases, 16 Wall. 36, 71-72 (1873). While this Court has recognized that the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment in some instances protects against discriminations [p127] other than those on account of race,  see Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533 (1964); Hadley v. Junior College District, 397 U.S. 50 (1970); see also Kotch v. Board of River Port Pilots, 330 U.S. 552 (1947), and cases cited therein, it cannot be successfully argued that the Fourteenth Amendment was intended to strip the States of their power, carefully preserved in the original Constitution, to govern themselves. The Fourteenth Amendment was surely not intended to make every discrimination between groups of people a constitutional denial of equal protection. Nor was the Enforcement Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment intended to permit Congress to prohibit every discrimination between groups of people. On the other hand, the Civil War Amendments were unquestionably designed to condemn and forbid every distinction, however trifling, on account of race.
To fulfill their goal of ending racial discrimination and to prevent direct or indirect state legislative encroachment on the rights guaranteed by the amendments, the Framers gave Congress power to enforce each of the Civil War Amendments. These enforcement powers are broad. In Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer Co., 392 U.S. 409, 439 (1968), the Court held that § 2 of the Thirteenth [p128] Amendment "clothed ‘Congress with power to pass all laws necessary and proper for abolishing all badges and incidents of slavery in the United States.'" In construing § 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Court has stated:
- It is not said the judicial power of the general government shall extend to enforcing the prohibitions and to protecting the rights and immunities guaranteed. It is not said that branch of the government shall be authorized to declare void any action of a State in violation of the prohibitions. It is the power of Congress which has been enlarged.
Ex parte Virginia, 100 U.S. 339, 345 (1880). (Emphasis added in part.) And in South Carolina v. Katzenbach, 383 U.S. 301 (1966) (BLACK, J., dissenting on other grounds), the Court upheld the literacy test ban of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, 79 Stat. 437, under Congress' Fifteenth Amendment enforcement power.
As broad as the congressional enforcement power is, it is not unlimited. Specifically, there are at least three limitations upon Congress' power to enforce the guarantees of the Civil War Amendments. First, Congress may not by legislation repeal other provisions of the Constitution. Second, the power granted to Congress was not intended to strip the States of their power to govern themselves or to convert our national government of enumerated powers into a central government of unrestrained authority over every inch of the whole Nation. Third, Congress may only "enforce" the provisions of the amendments, and may do so only by "appropriate legislation." Congress has no power under the enforcement sections to undercut the amendments' guarantees of personal equality and freedom from discrimination, see Katzenbach v. Morgan, 384 U.S. 641, 651 n. [p129] 10 (1966), or to undermine those protections of the Bill of Rights which we have held the Fourteenth Amendment made applicable to the States. 
Of course, we have upheld congressional legislation under the Enforcement Clauses in some cases where Congress has interfered with state regulation of the local electoral process. In Katzenbach v. Morgan, supra, the Court upheld a statute which outlawed New York's requirement of literacy in English as a prerequisite to voting as this requirement was applied to Puerto Ricans with certain educational qualifications. The New York statute overridden by Congress applied to all elections. And in South Carolina v. Katzenbach, supra, (BLACK, J., dissenting on other grounds), the Court upheld the literacy test ban of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. That Act proscribed the use of the literacy test in all elections in certain areas. But division of power between state and national governments, like every provision of the Constitution, was expressly qualified by the Civil War Amendments' ban on racial discrimination. Where Congress attempts to remedy racial discrimination under its enforcement powers, its authority is enhanced by the avowed intention of the framers of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments. Cf. Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections, 383 U.S. 663, 670 (1966) (BLACK, J., dissenting). [p130]
In enacting the 18-year-old vote provisions of the Act now before the Court, Congress made no legislative findings that the 21-year-old vote requirement was used by the States to disenfranchise voters on account of race. I seriously doubt that such a finding, if made, could be supported by substantial evidence. Since Congress has attempted to invade an area preserved to the States by the Constitution without a foundation for enforcing the Civil War Amendments' ban on racial discrimination, I would hold that Congress has exceeded its powers in attempting to lower the voting age in state and local elections. On the other hand, where Congress legislates in a domain not exclusively reserved by the Constitution to the States, its enforcement power need not be tied so closely to the goal of eliminating discrimination on account of race.
To invalidate part of the Voting Rights Act Amendments of 1970, however, does not mean that the entire Act must fall, or that the constitutional part of the 18-year-old vote provision cannot be given effect. In passing the Voting Rights Act Amendments of 1970, Congress recognized that the limits of its power under the Enforcement Clauses were largely undetermined, and therefore included a broad severability provision:
- If any provision of this Act or the application of any provision thereof to any person or circumstance is judicially determined to be invalid, the remainder of this Act or the application of such provision to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected by such determination.
84 Stat. 318. In this case, it is the judgment of the Court that Title III, lowering the voting age to 18, is invalid as applied to voters in state and local elections. It is also the judgment of the Court that Title III is valid with respect to national elections. We would fail to follow the [p131] express will of Congress in interpreting its own statute if we refused to sever these two distinct aspects of Title III. Moreover, it is a longstanding canon of statutory construction that legislative enactments are to be enforced to the extent that they are not inconsistent with the Constitution, particularly where the valid portion of the statute does not depend upon the invalid part. See, e.g., Watson v. Buck, 313 U.S. 387 (1941); Marsh v. Buck, 313 U.S. 406 (1941). Here, of course, the enforcement of the 18-year-old vote in national elections is in no way dependent upon its enforcement in state and local elections.
In Title I of the Voting Rights Act Amendments of 1970, Congress extended the provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 which ban the use of literacy tests in certain States upon the finding of certain conditions by the United States Attorney General. The Court upheld the provisions of the 1965 Act over my partial dissent in South Carolina v. Katzenbach, supra, and Gaston County v. United States, 395 U.S. 285 (1969). The constitutionality of Title I is not raised by any of the parties to these suits. 
In Title II of the Amendments, Congress prohibited until August 6, 1975, the use of any test or device resembling a literacy test in any national, state, or local election [p132] in any area of the United States where such test is not already proscribed by the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The State of Arizona maintains that Title II cannot be enforced to the extent that it is inconsistent with Arizona's literacy test requirement, Ariz.Rev.Stat.Ann. §§ 16-101.A.4, 16-101.A.5 (1956). I would hold that the literacy test ban of the 1970 Amendments is constitutional under the Enforcement Clause of the Fifteenth Amendment, and that it supersedes Arizona's conflicting statutes under the Supremacy Clause of the Federal Constitution. In enacting the literacy test ban of Title II, Congress had before it a long history of the discriminatory use of literacy tests to disfranchise voters on account of their race. Congress could have found that, as late as the summer of 1968, the percentage registration of nonwhite voters in seven Southern States was substantially below the percentage registration of white voters.  Moreover, Congress had before it striking evidence to show that the provisions of the 1965 Act had had, in the span of four years, a remarkable impact on minority group voter registration.  Congress also had evidence to show that voter registration in areas with large Spanish-American populations was consistently below the state and national averages. In Arizona, for example, only two counties out of eight with Spanish surname populations in excess of 15% showed a voter registration equal to the state-wide average.  Arizona also has a serious problem of deficient voter registration among Indians. Congressional [p133] concern over the use of a literacy test to disfranchise Puerto Ricans in New York State is already a matter of record in this Court. Katzenbach v. Morgan, supra. And as to the Nation as a whole, Congress had before it statistics which demonstrate that voter registration and voter participation are consistently greater in States without literacy tests. 
Congress also had before it this country's history of discriminatory educational opportunities in both the North and the South. The children who were denied an equivalent education by the "separate but equal" rule of Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537"]163 U.S. 537 (1896), overruled in 163 U.S. 537 (1896), overruled in Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954), are now old enough to vote. There is substantial, if not overwhelming, evidence from which Congress could have concluded that it is a denial of equal protection to condition the political participation of children educated in a dual school system upon their educational achievement. Moreover, the history of this legislation suggests that concern with educational inequality was perhaps uppermost in the minds of the congressmen who sponsored the Act. The hearings are filled with references to educational inequality. Faced with this and other evidence that literacy tests reduce voter participation in a discriminatory manner not only in the South but throughout the Nation, Congress was supported by substantial evidence in concluding that a nationwide ban on literacy tests was appropriate to enforce the Civil War amendments.
Finally, there is yet another reason for upholding the literacy test provisions of this Act. In imposing a nationwide ban on literacy tests, Congress has recognized a national problem for what it is — a serious national dilemma that touches every corner of our land. [p134] In this legislation, Congress has recognized that discrimination on account of color and racial origin is not confined to the South, but exists in various parts of the country. Congress has decided that the way to solve the problems of racial discrimination is to deal with nationwide discrimination with nationwide legislation. Compare South Carolina v. Katzenbach, supra, and Gaston County v. United States, supra.
In Title II of the Voting Rights Act Amendments Congress also provided that, in presidential and vice-presidential elections, no voter could be denied his right to cast a ballot because he had not lived in the jurisdiction long enough to meet its residency requirements. Furthermore, Congress provided uniform national rules for absentee voting in presidential and vice-presidential elections. In enacting these regulations, Congress was attempting to insure a fully effective voice to all citizens in national elections. What I said in Part I of this opinion applies with equal force here. Acting under its broad authority to create and maintain a national government, Congress unquestionably has power under the Constitution to regulate federal elections. The Framers of our Constitution were vitally concerned with setting up a national government that could survive. Essential to the survival and to the growth of our national government is its power to fill its elective offices and to insure that the officials who fill those offices are as responsive as possible to the will of the people whom they represent.
Our judgments today give the Federal Government the power the Framers conferred upon it, that is, the final control of the elections of its own officers. Our judgments also save for the States the power to control state and [p135] local elections which the Constitution originally reserved to them and which no subsequent amendment has taken from them.  The generalities of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment were not designed or adopted to render the States impotent to set voter qualifications in elections for their own local officials and agents in the absence of some specific constitutional limitations.
- Together with No. 44, Orig., Texas v. Mitchell, Attorney General, No. 46, Orig., United States v. Arizona, and No. 47, Orig., United States v. Idaho, also on bills of complaint.
- [NOTE: A numbered category that is used for MR. JUSTICE BLACK's opinion is not repeated below where the opinion being headnoted does not concur or concur in the result with respect to the point involved in that category.]
^ . In Nos. 43, Orig., and 44, Orig., Oregon and Texas, respectively, invoke the original jurisdiction of this Court to sue the United States Attorney General seeking an injunction against the enforcement of Title III (18-year-old vote) of the Act. In No. 46, Orig., the United States invokes our original jurisdiction seeking to enjoin Arizona from enforcing its laws to the extent that they conflict with the Act, and directing the officials of Arizona to comply with the provisions of Title II (nationwide literacy test ban), § 201, 84 Stat. 315, and Title III (18-year-old vote), §§ 301, 302, 84 Stat. 318, of the Act. In No. 47, Orig., the United States invokes our original jurisdiction seeking to enjoin Idaho from enforcing its laws to the extent that they conflict with Title II (abolition of residency requirements in presidential and vice-presidential elections), § 202, 84 Stat. 316, and Title III (18-year-old vote) of the Act. No question has been raised concerning the standing of the parties or the jurisdiction of this Court.
^ . Article I, § 4, was a compromise between those delegates to the Constitutional Convention who wanted the States to have final authority over the election of all state and federal officers and those who wanted Congress to make laws governing national elections, 2 J. Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States 280-292 (1st ed. 1833). The contemporary interpretation of this compromise reveals that those who favored national authority over national elections prevailed. Six States included in their resolutions of ratification the recommendation that a constitutional amendment be adopted to curtail the power of the Federal Government to regulate national elections. Such an amendment was never adopted.
A majority of the delegates to the Massachusetts ratifying convention must have assumed that Art. I, § 4, gave very broad powers to Congress. Otherwise, that convention would not have recommended an amendment providing:
- That Congress do not exercise the powers vested in them by the 4th section of the 1st article, but in cases where a state shall neglect or refuse to make the regulations therein mentioned, or shall make regulations subversive of the rights of the people to a free and equal representation in Congress, agreeably to the Constitution.
2 J. Elliot's Debates on the Federal Constitution 177 (1876). The speech of Mr. Cabot, one delegate to the Massachusetts convention, who argued that Art. I, § 4, was "to be as highly prized as any in the Constitution," expressed a view of the breadth of that section which must have been shared by most of his colleagues:
- [I]f the state legislatures are suffered to regulate conclusively the elections of the democratic branch, they may . . . finally annihilate that control of the general government, which the people ought always to have. . . .
Id. at 26.
And Cabot was supported by Mr. Parsons, who added:
- They might make an unequal and partial division of the states into districts for the election of representatives, or they might even disqualify one third of the electors. Without these power in Congress, the people can have no remedy; but the 4th section provides a remedy, a controlling power in a legislature, composed of senators and representatives of twelve states, without the influence of our commotions and factions, who will hear impartially, and preserve and restore to the people their equal and sacred rights of election.
Id. at 27.
^ . See Wesberry v. Sanders, 376 U.S. 1, 14-16 (1964).
^ . See, e.g., Act of Aug. 8, 1911, 37 Stat. 13.
^ . My Brother STEWART has cited the debates of the Constitutional Convention to show that Ellsworth, Mason, Madison, and Franklin successfully opposed granting Congress the power to regulate federal elections, including the qualifications of voters, in the original Constitution. I read the history of our Constitution differently. Mr. Madison, for example, explained Art. I, § 4, to the Virginia ratifying convention as follows:
- [I]t was thought that the regulation of time, place, and manner, of electing the representatives should be uniform throughout the continent. Some States might regulate the elections on the principles of equality, and others might regulate them otherwise. This diversity would be obviously unjust. . . . Should the people of any state by any means be deprived of the right of suffrage, it was judged proper that it should be remedied by the general government.
3 J. Elliot's Debates on the Federal Constitution 367 (1876). And Mr. Mason, who was supposedly successful in opposing a broad grant of power to Congress to regulate federal elections, still found it necessary to support an unsuccessful Virginia proposal to curb the power of Congress under Art. I, § 4. Id. at 403.
^ . See, e.g., Ex parte Siebold, 100 U.S. 371 (1880); Ex parte Yarbrough, 110 U.S. 651 (1884); United States v. Mosley, 238 U.S. 383 (1915); United States v. Classic, 313 U.S. 299 (1941).
^ . With reference to the selection of the President and Vice President, Art. II, § 1, provides:
- Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress. . . .
But this Court, in Burroughs v. United States, 290 U.S. 534 (1934), upheld the power of Congress to regulate certain aspects of elections for presidential and vice-presidential electors, specifically rejecting a construction of Art. II, § 1, that would have curtailed the power of Congress to regulate such elections. Finally, and most important, inherent in the very concept of a supreme national government with national officers is a residual power in Congress to insure that those officers represent their national constituency as responsively as possible. This power arises from the nature of our constitutional system of government and from the Necessary and Proper Clause.
- The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
U.S.Const., Amdt. X.
- The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.
^ . My Brother BRENNAN relies upon Carrington v. Rash, 380 U.S. 89 (1965); Cipriano v. City of Houma, 395 U.S. 701 (1969); and Evans v. Cornman, 398 U.S. 419 (1970). These typical equal protection cases, in which I joined, are not relevant or material to our decision in the cases before us. The establishment of voter age qualifications is a matter of legislative judgment which cannot be properly decided under the Equal Protection Clause. The crucial question here is not who is denied equal protection, but, rather, which political body, state or federal, is empowered to fix the minimum age of voters. The Framers intended the States to make the voting age decision in all elections with the provision that Congress could override state judgments concerning the qualifications of voters in federal elections.
^ . See: the First Amendment, e.g., Gitlow v. New York, 268 U.S. 652 (1925); Cantwell v. Connecticut, 310 U.S. 296 (1940); Edwards v. South Carolina, 372 U.S. 229 (1963); the Fourth Amendment, Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643 (1961); the Fifth Amendment, Chicago, B. & Q. R. Co. v. Chicago, 166 U.S. 226 (1897); Malloy v. Hogan, 378 U.S. 1 (1964); Benton v. Maryland, 395 U.S. 784 (1969); the Sixth Amendment, Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335 (1963); Pointer v. Texas, 380 U.S. 400 (1965); Klopfer v. North Carolina, 386 U.S. 213 (1967); Duncan v. Louisiana, 391 U.S. 145 (1968); and the Eighth Amendment, Robinson v. California, 370 U.S. 660 (1962).
^ . Yuma County, Arizona, is presently subject to the literacy test ban of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 pursuant to a determination of the Attorney General under § 4(a) of the 1965 Act. I do not understand Arizona to contest the application of the 1965 Act or its extension to that county. Arizona "does not question" Congress' authority to enforce the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments "when Congress possesses a ‘special legislative competence'"; and cites South Carolina v. Katzenbach, 383 U.S. 301"]383 U.S. 301 (1966), and 383 U.S. 301 (1966), and Katzenbach v. Morgan, 384 U.S. 641 (1966), with approval. Answer and Brief for Arizona, No. 46, Orig., O.T. 1970.
^ . Hearings on H.R. 4249, H.R. 5538, and Similar Proposals before Subcommittee No. 5 of the House Committee on the Judiciary, 91st Cong., 1st Sess., Ser. 3, p. 14 (1969).
^ . Id. at 93.
^ . Hearings on S. 818, S. 2456, S. 2507, and Title IV of S. 2029 before the Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, 91st Cong., 1st and 2d Sess., 406 (1969-1970).
^ . Id. at 401.
^ . That these views are not novel is demonstrated by Mr. Justice Story in his Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, vol. 2, pp. 284-285 (1st ed. 1833):
- There is, too, in the nature of such a provision [Art. I, § 4], something incongruous, if not absurd. What would be said of a clause introduced into the national constitution to regulate the state elections of the members of the state legislatures? It would be deemed a most unwarrantable transfer of power, indicating a premeditated design to destroy the state governments. It would be deemed so flagrant a violation of principle, as to require no comment. It would be said, and justly, that the state governments ought to possess the power of self-existence and self-organization, independent of the pleasure of the national government. Why does not the same reasoning apply to the national government? What reason is there to suppose, that the state governments will be more true to the Union, than the national government will be to the state governments?
(Emphasis added.) (Footnote omitted.)