GPO-CONAN-2017-10-15.pdf

Ment of legislators does not extend to decisions

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ment of legislators does not extend to decisions concerning which resident citizens may participate in the election of legislators and other public officials . . . . [W]hen we are reviewing statutes which deny some residents the right to vote, the general presumption of constitutionality afforded state statutes and the traditional ap- proval given state classifications if the Court can conceive of a ‘ra- tional basis’ for the distinctions made are not applicable.” 1965 Us- ing this analytical approach, the Court has established a regime of close review of a vast range of state restrictions on the eligibility to vote, on access to the ballot by candidates and parties, and on the weighing of votes cast through the devices of apportionment and districting. Changes in Court membership over the years has led to some relaxation in the application of principles, but even as the 1963 Lassiter v. Northampton County Bd. of Elections, 360 U.S. 45, 51 (1959). 1964 Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533, 561–62 (1964). 1965 Kramer v. Union Free School Dist., 395 U.S. 621, 626–28 (1969). See also Hill v. Stone, 421 U.S. 289, 297 (1975). But cf. Holt Civic Club v. City of Tuscaloosa, 439 U.S. 60 (1978). 2197 AMENDMENT 14—RIGHTS GUARANTEED
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Court has drawn back in other areas it has tended to preserve, both doctrinally and in fact, the election cases. 1966 Voter Qualifications. —States may require residency as a quali- fication to vote, but “durational residence laws . . . are unconstitu- tional unless the State can demonstrate that such laws are neces- sary to promote a compelling governmental interest.” 1967 The Court applies “[t]his exacting test” because the right to vote is “a funda- mental political right, . . . preservative of all rights,” and because a “durational residence requirement directly impinges on the exer- cise of a second fundamental personal right, the right to travel.” 1968 The Court indicated that the states have “a legitimate and compel- ling interest” in preventing fraud by voters, but that “it is impos- sible to view durational residence requirements as necessary to achieve that state interest.” 1969 However, a 50-day durational residence requirement was sus- tained in the context of the closing of the registration process at 50 days prior to elections and of the mechanics of the state’s registra- tion process. The period, the Court found, was necessary to achieve the state’s legitimate goals. 1970 1966 Thus, in San Antonio School Dist. v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 1, 34–35 nn.74 & 78 (1973), a major doctrinal effort to curb the “fundamental interest” side of the “new” equal protection, the Court acknowledged that the right to vote did not come within its prescription that rights to be deemed fundamental must be explicitly or implicitly guaranteed in the Constitution. Nonetheless, citizens have a “constitution- ally protected right to participate in elections,” which is protected by the Equal Pro- tection Clause. Dunn v. Blumstein, 405 U.S. 330, 336 (1972). The franchise is the guardian of all other rights. Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533, 562 (1964).
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