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Oregon v. Mitchell



State of Oregon


John N. Mitchell, U.S. Attorney General

Plaintiff's Claim

The attorney general should be barred from enforcing provisions of Congress' Voting Rights Act because the right to regulate elections is reserved for the states.

Chief Lawyer for Plaintiff

Lee Johnson

Chief Defense Lawyer

Erwin N. Griswold

Justices for the Court

Hugo Lafayette Black (writing for the Court), Harry A. Blackmun, William J. Brennan, Jr., Warren E. Burger, Potter Stewart

Justices Dissenting

William O. Douglas, John Marshall Harlan II, Thurgood Marshall, Byron R. White


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

21 December 1970


Congress could lower the voting age in federal elections to 18, but states and local governments reserved the right to set their own voting age.

Related Cases

  • Colegrove v. Green, 328 U.S. 549 (1946).
  • Gomillion v. Lightfoot, 364 U.S. 339 (1960).
  • Wesberry v. Sanders, 376 U.S. 1 (1964).
  • Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533 (1964).

Further Readings

  • Cultice, Wendell W. Youth's Battle for the Ballot. New York: Greenwood Press, 1992.
  • Hall, Kermit L., ed. The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.
  • MacKenzie, John P. "18-Year-Old Vote For President, Congress Upheld: High Court Excludes State Races." Washington Post. 22 December 1970, pp. A1, A6.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1963 to 1972