The Constitution is…Constitutional.

Our very smart homies over at edge of the west remind us that 80-some years ago today, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of women’s right to vote.

On this day in 1922, the Supreme Court of the United States, in the case of Leser v. Garnett, ruled that the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, enfranchising women, is constitutional. How could it be otherwise?Well, maybe if you’re an adamantine states’ righter (and, yes, male chauvinist pig) and you don’t think the federal constitution can overrule a state constitution: “The only ground of disqualification alleged was that the applicants for registration were women, whereas the Constitution of Maryland limits the suffrage to men.” In such cases, you might argue that the state legislature cannot vote the ratification of a federal amendment that defies the state constitution, which gives life to the state legislature.

Not so fast, said the Supremes. The state legislature is the state legislature except when the federal Constitution wants it on the phone: “the function of a state Legislature in ratifying a proposed amendment to the federal Constitution, like the function of Congress in proposing the amendment, is a federal function derived from the federal Constitution; and it transcends any limitations sought to be imposed by the people of a state.”

This seems like as good a time as any to show you the below. Enjoy the 70’s ethos, and wonder, is it as inaccurate and in its way as appalling as the “Manifest Destineeee” one? (Hint: consider the line, “not a woman here could vote….”)

Look here.



Gene "G.D." Demby is the founder and editor of PostBourgie. In his day job, he blogs and reports on race and ethnicity for NPR's Code Switch team.
  • Voting is great and all, but sometimes I wonder if granting the vote to the disenfranchised was really just a tactic for diffusing potentially productive energy.

  • I think I know where you’re going with this, but would you care to expound?

  • Um, giving women and negroes the right to vote created a sense of satisfaction and false equality, which has damaged them (well, negroes, I’m not sure about women) in the long run, because the fire for change was mitigated.

    Is that where you thought I was going?

  • quadmoniker

    I think centuries of fighting with no success while the powers-that-be ignored their pleas for equality also would have quelled the movements’ passions.