LOUISIANA v. UNITED STATES
The Attorney General on behalf of the United States sued Louisiana in a Louisiana federal district court alleging that the state had denied and would continue to deny African-Americans the right to vote. In 1898 Louisiana adopted a constitutional amendment that imposed burdensome requirements for voter registration, but which had a clause exempting those people registered to vote as of January 1, 1867 and the son or grandson of such people. African- Americans were not entitled to vote as of January 1, 1867. The district court agreed with the United States and held that Louisiana's requirements were unconstitutional.
Are the Louisiana constitution's voter registration requirements unconstitutional?
Legal provision: Reconstruction Civil Rights Acts (42 USC 1971)
Yes. The Supreme Court held that the Louisiana constitution's voter registration requirements are unconstitutional. With Justice Hugo L. Black writing for the majority, the Court reasoned that the registration provisions stood in conflict with the Fifteenth Amendment's and 42 U.S.C. § 1971(a)'s prohibitions against discrimination in voting because of race.
Justice John Marshall Harlan II disagreed that 42 U.S.C. § 1971(a) was applicable.