Today's Articles

People, Locations, Episodes

Thu, 03.24.1966

Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections decided

Newspaper clipping

*On this date in 1966, Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections, 383 U.S. 663 (1966), was decided.  This was a case in which the U.S. Supreme Court found that Virginia's poll tax was unconstitutional under the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.  

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, eleven southern states established poll taxes as part of their disenfranchisement of most blacks and many poor whites. The Twenty-fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution (1964) prohibited poll taxes in federal elections; five states (Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Texas and Virginia) continued to require poll taxes for voters in state elections.  

Justice Hugo Black filed a separate dissent. Black based his dissent mainly on stare decisis basis. As a textualist, he also criticized the majority for expanding the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment by using what he called the old "natural law due process formula". He emphasized that new meanings can be added to the Constitution only through amendments.  By this ruling, the Supreme Court banned the use of poll taxes in state elections.  

Reference:

Oxford Reference

New Poem Each Day

Poetry Corner

In Cuba a dark skin woman ask me if I’m from Angola I try to explain in the no Spanish I know that I am American she finds... SPANISH CONVERSATION by E. Ethelbert Miller.
Read More