Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

144 U. S. 92; In re Hohorst, 150 U. S. 653; United States v. Le Bris, 121 U. S. 278; Viterbo v. Friedlander, 120 U. S. 707. See also: Endlich, Interp. Stats., § 492; Potter's Dwarris, pp. 190–192, 218; Sutherland, Statutes, 2d ed., § 405.

What is implied in a statute is as much a part of it as what is expressed. Gelpcke v. Dubuque, 1 Wall. 175, 220; United States v. Babbit, 1 Black, 55, 61; Wilson County v. Third Nat. Bank, 103 U. S. 770, 778.

Whether at a given time a man was entitled to vote is a mixed question of law and fact, to be resolved only by consulting the law fixing the qualifications for suffrage and then the facts as to his possession of those qualifications.

While the Fifteenth Amendment did not confer the right of suffrage upon anyone, it did confer upon citizens of the United States from and after the date of its ratification the right not to be discriminated against in the exercise of the elective franchise on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. United States v. Reese, 92 U. S. 214; United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U. S. 542.

In all cases where the former slave-holding States had not removed from their constitutions the word "white" as a qualification for voting, the Fifteenth Amendment did in effect confer upon the negro the right to vote, because, being paramount to the state law, it annulled the discriminating word "white" and thus left him in the enjoyment of the same right as white persons. Ex parte Yarbrough, 110 U. S. 651; Neal v. Delaware, 103 U. S. 370.

If, therefore, the date fixed in the Grandfather Clause had been the year 1871-after the adoption of the Fifteenth Amendment-instead of the year 1866, the constitutions and laws to which it referred, and which were by such reference made a part of it, would have been already purged of the vice of racial discrimination, and the amendment itself would have been likewise free from it. To reflect upon the change which would be wrought in the meaning of this Grandfather Clause by the substitution of the year 1871 for the year 1866 is to be confirmed in the conviction of its utter invalidity.

The necessary effect and operation of the Grandfather Clause is to exclude practically all illiterate negroes and practically no illiterate white men, and from this its unconstitutional purpose may legitimately be inferred.

The census statistics show that the proportion of negroes qualified under the test imposed by the Grandfather Clause is as inconsiderable as the proportion of whites thereby disqualified.

In practical operation the amendment inevitably discriminates between the class of illiterate whites and illiterate blacks as a class, to the overwhelming disadvantage of the latter.

The necessary effect and operation of a state statute or constitutional amendment may be considered in de termining its validity under the Federal Constitution. Bailey v. Alabama, 219 U. S. 219; Ho Ah Kow v. Nunan, 5 Sawyer, 552; Home Insurance Co. v. New York, 134 U. S. 594, 598; Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U. S. 356. See also: Brimmer v. Rebman, 138 U. S. 78, 82; Chy Lung v. Freeman, 92 U. S. 275, 278; Dobbins v. Los Angeles, 195 U. S. 223, 240; Henderson v. Mayor of N. Y., 92 U. S. 259, 268; Lochner v. New York, 198 U. S. 45, 64; McCray v. United States, 195 U. S. 27, 60. See also: Maxwell v. Dow, 176 U. S. 581; Minnesota v. Barber, 136 U. S. 313, 319; Missouri v. Lewis, 101 U. S. 22, 32; Quong Wing v. Kirkendall, 223 U. S. 59, 63. Distinguishing-Barbier v. Connolly, 113 U. S. 27; Soon Hing v. Crowley, 113 U. S. 703; and Williams v. Mississippi, 170 U. S. 213.

The answer to the first question propounded by the court is that the Grandfather Clause being in violation of the Fifteenth Amendment and void, the amendment of 1910 to the constitution of Oklahoma as a whole is likewise invalid. The unconstitutional portion of the amendment is not separable from the remainder. Connolly v. Union Sewer Pipe Co., 184 U. S. 540, 564-565; Reagan v. Farmers' Loan & Trust Co., 154 U. S. 362, 395.

The first question certified by the Circuit Court of Appeals should be answered in the negative; the second question in the affirmative.

Mr. Moorfield Storey for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People:

All discriminations respecting the right to vote on account of color are unconstitutional.

Whether the Oklahoma amendment constitutes such a discrimination is to be determined by its purpose and effect, and not by its phraseology alone.

The undoubted purpose and effect of the amendment is to discriminate against colored voters. Anderson v. Myers, 182 Fed. Rep. 223; Bailey v. Alabama, 219 U. S. 219; Brimmer v. Rebman, 138 U. S. 78; Collins v. New Hampshire, 171 U. S. 30; Chy Lung v. Freeman, 92 U. S. 275; Galveston &c. Ry. v. Texas, 210 U. S. 217; Giles v. Harris, 189 U. S. 475; Giles v. Teasley, 193 U. S. 146; Graver v. Faurot, 162 U. S. 435; Hannibal & St. Jo. R. R. v. Husen, 95 U. S. 465; Henderson v. Mayor of New York, 92 U. S. 259; Lochner v. New York, 198 U. S. 45; Maynard v. Hecht, 151 U. S. 324; Minnesota v. Barber, 136 U. S. 313; Mobile v. Watson, 116 U. S. 289; New Hampshire v. Louisiana, 108 U. S. 76; People v. Albertson, 55 N. Y. 50; People v. Compagnie Générale, 107 U. S. 59; Postal Tel.Cable v. Taylor, 192 U. S. 64; Schollenberger v. Pennsylvania, 171 U.S. 1; Scott v. Donald, 165 U. S. 58; Smith v. St. Louis & So. W. Ry., 181 U. S. 248; State v. Jones, 66 Ohio St. 453; Strauder v. West Virginia, 100 U. S. 303; Voight v. Wright, 141 U. S. 62; Williams v. Mississippi, 170 U. S. 213; Ex parte Yarbrough, 110 U. S. 651.

Mr. J. H. Adriaans filed a brief as amicus curiæ.

Mr. John H. Burford and Mr. John Embry filed a brief as amici curice.

MR. CHIEF JUSTICE WHITE delivered the opinion of the court.

This case is before us on a certificate drawn by the court below as the basis of two questions which are submitted for our solution in order to enable the court correctly to decide issues in a case which it has under consideration. Those issues arose from an indictment and conviction of certain election officers of the State of Oklahoma (the plaintiffs in error) of the crime of having conspired unlawfully, wilfully and fraudulently to deprive certain negro citizens, on account of their race and color, of a right to vote at a general election held in that State in 1910, they being entitled to vote under the state law and which right was secured to them by the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. The prosecution was directly concerned with $ 5508, Rev. Stat., now § 19 of the Penal Code which is as follows: “If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress,

, threaten, or intimidate any citizen in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same, or if two or more persons go in disguise on the highway, or on the premises of another, with intent to prevent or hinder his free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege so secured, they shall be fined not more than five thousand dollars and imprisoned not more than ten years, and shall, moreover, be thereafter ineligible to any office, or place of honor, profit, or trust created by the Constitution or laws of the United States.”

We concentrate and state from the certificate only matters which we deem essential to dispose of the ques tions asked.

Suffrage in Oklahoma was regulated by S 1, Article III of the Constitution under which the State was admitted into the Union. Shortly after the admission there was submitted an amendment to the Constitution making a radical change in that article which was adopted prior to November 8, 1910. At an election for members of Congress which followed the adoption of this Amendment certain election officers in enforcing its provisions refused to allow certain negro citizens to vote who were clearly entitled to vote under the provision of the Constitution under which the State was admitted, that is, before the amendment, and who, it is equally clear, were not entitled to vote under the provision of the suffrage amendment if that amendment governed. The persons so excluded based their claim of right to vote upon the original Constitution and upon the assertion that the suffrage amendment was void because in conflict with the prohibitions of the Fifteenth Amendment and therefore afforded no basis for denying them the right guaranteed and protected by that Amendment. And upon the assumption that this claim was justified and that the election officers had vio lated the Fifteenth Amendment in denying the right to vote, this prosecution, as we have said, was commenced. At the trial the court instructed that by the Fifteenth Amendment the States were prohibited from discriminating as to suffrage because of race, color, or previous condition of servitude and that Congress in pursuance of the authority which was conferred upon it by the very terms of the Amendment to enforce its provisions had enacted the following (Rev. Stat., $ 2004):

All citizens of the United States who are otherwise qualified by law to vote at any election by the people of any State, Territory, district, municipality,

or

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »