United States v. Reese
|United States v. Reese|
|Argued January 13–14, 1875
Decided March 27, 1876
|Full case name||United States v. Reese|
|Citations||92 U.S. 214 (more)|
|Majority||Waite, joined by Swayne, Miller, Davis, Field, Strong, and Bradley|
|U.S. Const. amend. XV|
United States v. Reese was an 1876 voting rights case in which the United States Supreme Court upheld such practices as the poll tax, the literacy test, and the grandfather clause. This case helped to undermine African Americans and their rights included in the 15th Amendment to the United States Constitution.
This was the Supreme Court's first voting rights case under the Fifteenth Amendment and the Enforcement Act of 1870. A Kentucky electoral official had refused to register an African‐American's vote in a municipal election and was indicted under two sections of the 1870 act: section 2 required that administrative preliminaries to elections be conducted without regard to race, color, or previous condition of servitude; section 3 forbade wrongful refusal to register votes where a prerequisite step “required as foresaid” had been omitted. The Court held that the Fifteenth Amendment did not confer the right of suffrage but prohibited exclusion on racial grounds. The justices invalidated the operative section 3 since it did not repeat the words about race, color, and servitude and thus exceeded the scope of the Fifteenth Amendment.