Posted On: Monday - March 22nd 2021 8:15AM MST
In Topics:   Morning Constitutional
Continued from Amendment XI, Amendment XII, Amendment XIII, Amendment XIV, Amendment XV, Part 1 on Amendment XVI, Part 2 on Amendment XVI , Part 3 on Amendment XVI, Amendment XVII, Amendment XVIII, Part 1 on Amendment XIX, Part 2 on Amendment XIX, Part 3 on Amendment XIX, Amendment XX, and Amendment XXI, Amendment XXII, Amendment XXIII, Amendment XXIV, Amendment XXV - Part 1: Housekeeping, and Amendment XXV - Part 2: Presidential Incapacity.)
It's been another month since our last Morning Constitutional. "Don't do that", says the Doc. We're moving right along to the 2nd of the last one, so far.
Section 1"Well that was easy!" said the US Congress in March of 1971, and 3/4 of the States by just over 3 months later. Amendment XXVI was a copy and paste job from Amendment XV, with "age" subbed in for "race, color, or previous condition of servitude". The wording is otherwise exactly the same.
The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.
The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
The voting age, as with so many other things back in the days of Federalism, was up to the various States. Nowhere in the original Constitution does it specify any ages for anything but office holders. It wasn't until Amendment XIV was railroaded through the ratification process in Southern States under "Reconstruction" in 1868 that States were required to allow any male of 21 years-of-age and older to vote.
Per, the usual Constitution-Center's interpretation page (more on this one at the bottom):
By the time of the Vietnam Conflict, most states still limited the franchise to people 21 and older. Because so many men between 18 and 20 were being drafted to fight in Vietnam, Congress came under substantial pressure to expand the franchise to them. Congress consequently enacted the Voting Rights Act of 1970, which lowered the voting age to 18 for all federal, state, and local elections.It was not just the Vietnam War - "If I'm old enough to kill people for the US Government, I'm old enough to vote". After all, a year into WWII, the draft age went to 18. Is it because this was the "good war" that nobody bitched about not being able to vote about it, yet being conscripted to fight?
In Oregon v. Mitchell (1970), a deeply divided Supreme Court held that Congress had authority to lower the voting age in federal elections, but lacked power to do so for state and local elections. Thus, states were statutorily required to allow people between 18 and 20 to vote for President, U.S. Senate, and the U.S. House of Representatives, but retained discretion to limit state and local elections to voters who were at least 21. In response to Oregon,
I'm guessing that, because the Baby Boom generation, at the time of this Amendment, were 26 y/o, with 18-25 y/o's too, and huge in numbers, their voice was heard. It's not that I don't agree with their sentiment on this too, though. However, lets get to the ROOT of the problem. To do that, we go right back to the US Constitution, way on back, y'all, to the beginning. In Article I, Section 8 (mash that "keep reading" link), we see that the powers of the Legislative Branch include :
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;I don't see anything about conscription in there. Drafting of men to fight in the Revolution was done by the States themselves.
To provide and maintain a Navy;
To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
Wasn't the problem that Amendment XXVI was designed to fix rooted in the loss of State rights to begin with? If the State of Georgia were drafting men at 18 years-of-age, then perhaps Georgians could decide that those men ought to be able to vote, and so on. In fact, if you look at that case Oregon vs. Mitchell mentioned in that interpretation page excerpted above, you find that the Voting Rights Act of 1970 usurped almost as much States' rights as this Amendment did.
So, there they went again. Amendment XXVI took away States' rights regarding the election process, just as Amendments XIV, XVI, XVII (in a more fundamental way), XIX, and XXIV did. Anyone starting to notice a pattern with this Constitutional Amendment process? We've got one more. Let's cross our fingers for a lucky #27. I know, the suspense is killing you, right?
PS: About that interpretation page, again, they have got plenty of factual information to make it worth reading, but it's got the good writer/bad writer thing going on again. We don't learn directly which writer is the agenda-pushing bad writer, as it's all one essay, as usual. However, since there's this "she" pronoun for an unknown gender thing going on, I'm going to take a wild guess and say SHE is Jocelyn Benson - Secretary of State for the State of Michigan.