October 15, 2019 | Supreme Court Preview: Will Justices Issue Landmark Abortion Decision?
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
The United States or any State cannot deny anyone the right to vote based on their race, the color of their skin, or the fact that they were once slaves.
Congress has the power to enforce this amendment by law.
|The Fifteenth Amendment||Important Cases|
|This was the last of the Reconstruction Amendments, those amendments passed in the wake of the Civil War. Unlike the 14th Amendment, and more like the 13th Amendment, this amendment has not been the subject of much controversy or litigation. The text of the amendment is simple: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” As with several other amendments, an additional section is added, stating, “The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”|
However, as straightforward as this amendment might seem – the promise to prevent the exclusion of minorities (especially African Americans) from the voting booth – its effects were not nearly as sweeping. For many decades post-ratification of the 15th Amendment, African Americans were still largely excluded, especially in the southern states, through tactics such as poll taxes and literacy tests. It was only through the eventual passage of the 24th Amendment and the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that such practices were completely outlawed.