Oregon v. Mitchell 400 U.S. 112 (1970)

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OREGON v. MITCHELL 400 U.S. 112 (1970)

This decision suggested some short-lived constitutional limits on Congress's power to regulate voting. The 1970 amendments to the voting rights act of 1965 lowered from twenty-one to eighteen the minimum voting age for federal, state, and local elections, suspended literacy tests throughout the nation, prohibited states from imposing residence requirements in presidential elections, and provided for uniform national rules for absentee registration and voting in presidential elections. (See voting rights amendments.) The Supreme Court unanimously upheld the suspension of literacy tests and over Justice john marshall harlan ' s dissent, found the residency and absentee voting provisions valid. Four Justices found the age limit reduction constitutional for all elections and four Justices found it unconstitutional for all elections. Because Justice hugo t. black found the age limit reduction constitutional only for federal elections, the case's formal holding, though reflecting only Justice Black's view, was to sustain the age reduction only in federal elections. The many separate opinions in Mitchell also reviewed the question, first addressed in katzenbach v. morgan (1966), of Congress's power to interpret and alter the scope of the fourteenth amendment. In 1971, in reponse to Mitchell,the twenty-sixth amendment lowered the voting age to eighteen in all elections.

Theodore Eisenberg

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Oregon v. Mitchell 400 U.S. 112 (1970)

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