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Law School Case Brief

Minor v. Happersett - 88 U.S. (21 Wall.) 162 (1874)

Rule:

The Constitution of the United States does not confer the right of suffrage upon any one.

Facts:


Plaintiff female brought suit against defendant registrar for refusing to register her as a lawful voter. The trial court gave judgment for defendant and the state supreme court affirmed. The United States Supreme Court affirmed the judgment in favor of defendant registrar who refused to register plaintiff female as a lawful voter. The Court held that suffrage was not coextensive with citizenship and that the Constitution had not added the right of suffrage to the privileges and immunities of citizenship as they existed at the time the Constitution was adopted.

Issue:

Does the constitution confer the right of suffrage upon a female citizen?

Answer:

No.

Conclusion:

The Court held that the Fourteenth AmendmentU.S. Const. amend. XIV, had not conferred citizenship upon plaintiff because plaintiff had been a citizen since her birth. The Court held, however, that the Fourteenth AmendmentU.S. Const. amend. XIV, did not add to the privileges and immunities of a citizen but simply created an additional guaranty for the protection of those already possessed by a citizen. The Court held that the Constitution had not added the right of suffrage to the privileges and immunities of citizenship as they existed at the time the Constitution was adopted. The Court found that suffrage was not coextensive with the citizenship of the States when the Constitution was adopted.

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