Hunter v. Underwood

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Hunter v. Underwood
Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg
Argued February 26, 1985
Decided April 16, 1985
Full case name Hunter, et al. v. Victor Underwood, et al.
Citations 471 U.S. 222 (more)
105 S. Ct. 1916; 85 L. Ed. 2d 222; 1985 U.S. LEXIS 2740; 53 U.S.L.W. 4468
Court membership
Case opinions
Majority Rehnquist, joined by Burger, Brennan, White, Marshall, Blackmun, Stevens, O'Connor
Powell took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.

Hunter v. Underwood, 471 U.S. 222 (1985), was a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court invalidated the felony disenfranchisement provision of § 182 of the Alabama Constitution as a violation of equal protection.[1]


Edwards, an African-American, and Underwood, white, were blocked from voting after presenting a worthless check. Their disenfranchisement was mandated by § 182 of the Alabama Constitution, which disenfranchised persons convicted of "any crime...involving moral turpitude."[2]

Opinion of the Court[edit]

The court identified § 182 as a facially neutral law with racially disproportionate effects, thus requiring an inquiry to discover if the law was passed with a discriminatory purpose. The provision was adopted at a convention in 1901, and the court found ample evidence that the law and other measures of the convention were passed with the intention of disenfranchising practically all African-Americans. The court struck down the provision as a violation of equal protection.


  1. ^ Varat, J.D. et al. Constitutional Law Cases and Materials, Concise Thirteenth Edition. Foundation Press, NY: 2009, p. 574
  2. ^ Varat, p. 574

External links[edit]