Felon disenfranchisement Essay -- Criminal Justice
Felon Disenfranchisement Essay - 1520 Words
Critics argue that the language of the Fourteenth Amendment does not indicate that the exemptions established in Section 2 should prohibit the application of the Equal Protection Clause to voting rights cases.14) Moreover, some contend that the Court’s interpretation of the Equal Protection Clause in Richardson is inconsistent with its previous decisions on citizenship and voting rights, in which the Court has found that the scope of the Equal Protection Clause “is not bound to the political theories of a particular era but draws much of its substance from changing social norms and evolving conceptions of equality.”15) Therefore, even if the framers of the Fourteenth Amendment seemingly accepted felony disenfranchisement, our interpretation of the Equal Protection Clause today should allow for the ways in which our concept of equality may have evolved since 1868.
Felon Disenfranchisement - Essay by Taijai2013
Disenfranchisement policies have met occasional legal challenges in the last century. In Richardson v. Ramirez 418 U.S. 24 (1974), three men from California who had served time for felony convictions sued for their right to vote, arguing that the state’s felony disenfranchisement policies denied them the right to equal protection of the laws under the U.S. Constitution. Under Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment, a state cannot restrict voting rights unless it shows a compelling state interest. Nevertheless, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld California’s felony disenfranchisement policies as constitutional, finding that Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment allows the denial of voting rights “for participation in rebellion, or other crime.” In the majority opinion, Justice Rehnquist found that Section 2 – which was arguably intended to protect the voting rights of freed slaves by sanctioning states that disenfranchised them – exempts from sanction disenfranchisement based on a felony conviction. By this logic, the Equal Protection Clause in the previous section could not have been intended to prohibit such disenfranchisement policies.