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Guinn v. United States

Significance, Oklahoma's Grandfather Clause, A Political Decision, The Supreme Court Decides, Civil Rights And Wrongs


Frank Guinn, J. J. Beal


United States

Plaintiffs' Claim

That the federal government had been wrong to prosecute these two Oklahoma election officials for enforcing an Oklahoma voting regulation that became known as the "Grandfather clause." The government believed that the "Grandfather clause" deprived African Americans of their right to vote.

Chief Defense Lawyers

James C. McReynolds, U.S. Attorney General; John W. Davis, U.S. Solicitor General

Chief Lawyer for Plaintiff

Joseph W. Bailey

Justices for the Court

William Rufus Day, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Charles Evans Hughes, Joseph Rucker Lamar, Joseph McKenna, Mahlon Pitney, Willis Van Devanter, Edward Douglass White (writing for the Court)

Justices Dissenting

None (James Clark McReynolds did not participate)


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

21 June 1915


That the Oklahoma voting regulation did in fact violate the Fifteenth Amendment and unconstitutionally deprive African Americans of their right to vote.

Related Cases

  • United States v. Classic, 313 U.S. 299 (1941).

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1883 to 1917