Category Archives: 19th Amendment

Seventh Annual Salmon P. Chase Distinguished Lecture, April 22: Martha Jones on the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment

Looking forward to this, from the Georgetown Center for the Constitution:

To register, please click the “register” button on the top right of the page or fill out the following form. 

Hosted by the Georgetown Center for the Constitution and cosponsored by the Supreme Court Historical Society.

Together with the Supreme Court Historical Society, the Center sponsors the annual Salmon P. Chase Distinguished Lecture and Faculty Colloquium to commemorate important anniversaries and neglected figures in our constitutional history. On Thursday evening April 22nd, 2021, Professor Martha Jones of Johns Hopkins University will be delivering the Seventh Annual Salmon P. Chase Distinguished Lecture commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the adoption of the Nineteenth Amendment. The event will be held virtually. Our previous Chase lecturers have included James Oakes, Eric Foner, Colleen Sheehan, William Ewald, Charles McCurdy, and Sandy Levinson.

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CAC October 1 Event: “The 19th Amendment and Our Unfinished Work”

Details:

As our nation mourns the loss of Justice Ginsburg—a stalwart champion for gender equality and voting rights—we continue to mark the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which prohibits the federal government and the states from denying or abridging the right to vote “on account of sex.”  What role does the 19th Amendment play in the arc of constitutional progress?  For whom was this amendment’s promise illusory?  What have the 19th Amendment’s effects been on the health and vitality of our democracy?  And as we prepare for the historic election in November and future elections, what more needs to be done to ensure that the right to vote exists not only on paper, but in the lived reality of women across the nation?  These questions and more will be answered in an online event on Thursday, October 1st, from 5-6pm ET, featuring a keynote address by Catherine E. LhamonChair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and then a panel conversation featuring the following experts:

Elizabeth Wydra, President, Constitutional Accountability Center

Jocelyn Frye, Senior Fellow, Women’s Initiative at the Center for American Progress, and former Policy Director for First Lady Michelle Obama.

The conversation will be moderated by CAC Vice President Praveen Fernandes.

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“How the Right to Vote Became Fundamental”

David Gans:

A century ago, the Nineteenth Amendment was added to the Constitution, prohibiting state-sponsored voting discrimination on account of sex, and women’s status as equal citizens was formally etched in the Constitution’s text.  What is less well known is that the Nineteenth Amendment also helped cement the idea that the right to vote is a fundamental right inherent in citizenship.   

For America’s first 150 years, the exclusion of half the population from participation in the electorate stood firmly in the way of viewing the right to vote as a fundamental right.  When, in the wake of Civil War, the Constitution was first amended to protect the right to vote, it drew a sharp line between men and women.  All citizens did not have a fundamental right to vote.  After all, women were citizens and, as Reconstruction congressmen repeatedly argued, [w]omen do not vote.”  Although a “woman is as much a citizen as a man,” when it came to the right to vote, the Reconstruction Framers took the view that states “may still discriminate.”  In short, instead of being a fundamental right, voting was viewed as a privilege that could be given to men and denied to women, who were deemed to be represented by men “at the polls and in the affairs of Government.” 

Indeed, in 1868, the Fourteenth Amendment explicitly wrote this cramped view of democracy into the Constitution by imposing a penalty of reduced congressional representation on states that denied or abridged the right to vote to any of its “male” citizens.  In 1870, at the very moment when the Fifteenth Amendment first recognized that the right to vote was necessary to make real the promise of freedom and equal citizenship for Black men, our national charter underscored that women had no claim to the ballot and could be relegated to second-class status.  The Reconstruction Framers, time and again, took it as a given that women would be indirectly represented by their “fathers, husbands, brothers, and sons to whom the right of suffrage is given.”   

Women’s rights activists of the 1860s and 1870s, however, rejected the idea that our foundational promises of democracy, freedom, and equality were real if half the population could be excluded from voting…

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Watch Archived Video of UCLAW Event: “19th Amendment at 100: The Struggle for Voting Rights in America”

You can watch here, with a great lineup:

August 18th marks the one hundredth anniversary of the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, which guaranteed women the right to vote. Join us for a conversation as we reflect on this landmark legislation and how the struggle for voting rights and protections still resonates in 2020. This discussion is hosted by UCLA Law Dean Jennifer Mnookin and features: Ellen DuBois – Professor Emeritus, UCLA History Department

Kathay Feng – National Redistricting Director, Common Cause

Celinda Lake – President, Lake Research Partners

Celinda Vázquez – Vice President of Public Affairs, Planned Parenthood Los Angeles

Sonni Waknin – Managing Legal Fellow, UCLA Voting Rights Project

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Georgetown Law Journal Publishes 19th Amendment Special Edition; Proud to Be Part of It

Table of Contents:

Nineteenth Amendment Edition

Letter from the Editor-in-Chief

Letter from the Editor-in-Chief
Grace Paras

Foreword

Foreword
Hon. M. Margaret McKeown

Transcript

Excerpted Transcript of “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

Articles

Thin and Thick Conceptions of the Nineteenth Amendment Right to Vote and Congress’s Power to Enforce It
Richard L. Hasen & Leah M. Litman

Reconstructing Liberty, Equality, and Marriage: The Missing Nineteenth Amendment Argument
Nan D. Hunter

The “Welfare Queen” Goes to the Polls: Race-Based Fractures in Gender Politics and Opportunities for Intersectional Coalitions
Catherine Powell & Camille Gear Rich

The Pregnant Citizen, from Suffrage to the Present
Reva B. Siegel

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“‘A Woman Stumps Her State’: Nellie G. Robinson and Women’s Right to Hold Public Office in Ohio”

Elizabeth Katz has posted this draft on SSRN (forthcoming, Akron Law Review). Here is the abstract:

In recognition of the centennial of the Nineteenth Amendment, this essay provides an introduction to a largely overlooked yet essential component of the women’s movement: the pursuit of women’s legal right to hold public office. From the mid-nineteenth century through ratification of the federal suffrage amendment in 1920, women demanded access to appointed and elected positions, ranging from notary public to mayor. Because the legal right to hold office had literal and symbolic connections to the right to vote, suffragists and antisuffragists were deeply invested in the outcome. Courts and legislatures varied in their responses, with those in the Midwest and West generally more willing than those in the Northeast and South to construe or create law permitting women to hold office. This account centers on the experiences of Nellie G. Robinson, a pioneering woman lawyer whose efforts to secure public office in Ohio received nationwide attention in the years surrounding the turn of the twentieth century. To contextualize Robinson’s successes and failures, the essay expands to consider the parallel efforts of other women lawyers from the period, as well as the broader history of women’s officeholding in Ohio—a state with laws and politics reflecting the major trends and tensions in the national women’s officeholding movement.

This essay was written for a symposium issue of the Akron Law Review, organized with the Center for Constitutional Law. The topic for the conference and symposium was “The 19th Amendment at 100: From the Vote to Gender Equality.”

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Now Available: Revised Version of Hasen & Litman, “Thin and Thick Conceptions of the Nineteenth Amendment Right to Vote and Congress’s Power to Enforce It”

You can find a revised version of this paper by Leah Litman and me, part of a Georgetown Law Journal symposium on the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, at this link. Here is the abstract:

This Article, prepared for a Georgetown Law Journal symposium on the Nineteenth Amendment’s 100-year anniversary, explores and defends a “thick” conception of the Nineteenth Amendment right to vote and Congress’s power to enforce it. A “thin” conception of the Nineteenth Amendment maintains that the amendment merely prohibits states from enacting laws that prohibit women from voting, once the state decides to hold an election. And a “thin” conception of Congress’s power to enforce the Nineteenth Amendment maintains that Congress may only supply remedies for official acts that violate the Amendment’s substantive guarantees.

This piece argues the Nineteenth Amendment does more. A thick understanding of the Nineteenth Amendment’s substantive right is consistent with the Amendment’s text and history, as well as with a synthetic interpretation of the Constitution and its expanding guarantees of voting rights. The thick understanding of the Nineteenth Amendment would allow voting rights plaintiffs to attack restrictive voting laws burdening women, especially when those laws burden young women of color, who are guaranteed nondiscrimination in voting on the basis of age and race as well. And a thick understanding of Congress’s power to enforce the Nineteenth Amendment offers a way to redeem the Amendment from some of its racist origins and entanglement with the sexism that limited the Amendment’s reach, and to reinforce the democratic legitimacy of the Constitution. The thick understanding of Congress’s enforcement power would give Congress the ability to pass laws protecting women from voter discrimination and promoting their political equality. Nonetheless, the current Court is unlikely to embrace a thick understanding of the Nineteenth Amendment.

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19th Amendment Symposium at Seattle U.

From the announcement and call for papers for the event, scheduled for April 3, 2020:

The Seattle University Law Review is excited to announce a symposium in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, in partnership with the Federal Bar Association for the Western District of Washington, to be held at Seattle University School of Law in Seattle, Washington on April 3, 2020. 

…. Those wishing to present a paper for discussion should submit an abstract by January 31st, 2020. 

We welcome symposium papers in a wide variety of lengths and styles…. We will select papers to be presented by February 14th, 2020. Please send all submissions or related questions to Emma Wright, Editor in Chief [Seattle University Law Review] ….

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“A Century of Votes for Women”

Christina Wolbrecht and J. Kevin Corder with a new book on the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment.  The abstract:

How have American women voted in the first 100 years since the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment? How have popular understandings of women as voters both persisted and changed over time? In A Century of Votes for Women, Christina Wolbrecht and J. Kevin Corder offer an unprecedented account of women voters in American politics over the last ten decades. Bringing together new and existing data, the book provides unique insight into women’s (and men’s) voting behavior, and traces how women’s turnout and vote choice evolved across a century of enormous transformation overall and for women in particular. Wolbrecht and Corder show that there is no such thing as ‘the woman voter’; instead they reveal considerable variation in how different groups of women voted in response to changing political, social, and economic realities. The book also demonstrates how assumptions about women as voters influenced politicians, the press, and scholars.

Should be an interesting read.

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“Thin and Thick Conceptions of the Nineteenth Amendment Right to Vote and Congress’s Power to Enforce It”

Leah Litman and I have posted this draft on SSRN (forthcoming, Georgetown Law Journal). Here is the abstract:

This Article, prepared for a Georgetown Law Journal symposium on the Nineteenth Amendment’s 100-year anniversary, explores and defends a “thick” conception of the Nineteenth Amendment right to vote and Congress’s power to enforce it. A “thin” conception of the Nineteenth Amendment maintains that the amendment merely prohibits states from enacting laws that prohibit women from voting, once the state decides to hold an election. And a “thin” conception of Congress’s power to enforce the Nineteenth Amendment maintains that Congress may only supply remedies for official acts that violate the Amendment’s substantive guarantees.


This piece argues the Nineteenth Amendment does more. A thick understanding of the Nineteenth Amendment’s substantive right is consistent with the Amendment’s text and history, as well as with a synthetic interpretation of the Constitution and its expanding guarantees of voting rights. The thick understanding of the Nineteenth Amendment would allow voting rights plaintiffs to attack restrictive voting laws burdening women, especially when those laws burden young women of color, who are guaranteed nondiscrimination in voting on the basis of age and race as well. And a thick understanding of Congress’s power to enforce the Nineteenth Amendment offers a way to redeem the Amendment from some of its racist origins and entanglement with the sexism that limited the Amendment’s reach, and to reinforce the democratic legitimacy of the Constitution. The thick understanding of Congress’s enforcement power would give Congress the ability to pass laws protecting women from voter discrimination and promoting their political equality. Nonetheless, the current Court is unlikely to embrace a thick understanding of the Nineteenth Amendment.

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