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Guinn v. United States

Civil Rights And Wrongs

The Supreme Court decision was greeted with joy by those who supported civil rights. One of the historic features of the case was the participation of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), who had submitted a "friend of the court" brief through Moorfield Storey. He and his NAACP colleagues stated that the decision "was a very great victory . . . a great step in advance [indicating] that the Court has waked up to the situation."

Yet finally, neither the Guinn decision nor the other two Grandfather clause cases had much practical impact. A special session of the 1916 Oklahoma legislature enacted a new law that "grandfathered" in all those who had registered in the 1914 election. This blatant defiance of the Court's intention went unpunished for years. Not until 1939 did the Court strike down the Oklahoma law. It wasn't until 1965, when the Voting Rights Act was passed by Congress, that African American voting rights truly become established throughout the United States.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1883 to 1917Guinn v. United States - Significance, Oklahoma's Grandfather Clause, A Political Decision, The Supreme Court Decides, Civil Rights And Wrongs