Constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act of 1965; a response to the Attorney General of the United States...

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VMHC_JK.1861.V82.B8_v1 R Button Constitutionality of VRA rsz.jpg
VMHC_JK.1861.V82.B8_v2 RButton TItle page rsz.jpg
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VMHC_JK 1861 V82 B8 c.4_0010 ConstVRA  p14 rsz.jpg

Title

Constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act of 1965; a response to the Attorney General of the United States...

Description

This booklet was distributed by the Virginia Commission on Constitutional Government (VCCG) in opposition to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Commission began in 1958 and existed until the late 1960s.

Led by David J. Mays, a prominent lawyer and advisor to Virginia’s commission on the response to the Brown v. Board of Education decision, it advocated nationally for states’ rights and conservatism, and eventually distributed over 2 million published pamphlets, brochures and speeches. The Constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 argues against the Voting Rights Act. Robert Y. Button (Virginia’s Attorney General at the time) made a typical VCCG argument in stating that the Act “attempted to erode the basic concepts of constitutional government in which the individual States are acknowledged to be sovereign” and is “patently unconstitutional.” 

Excerpts: 

pp. 8-9 "the Supreme Court of the United States has repeatedly declared that a State is free to conduct its elections and limit its electorate as it may deem wise, except as its actions may be affected by the prohibitions of the Federal Constitution, and that the power of Congress to legistlate at all the subject of racial discrimination in voting rests upon the Fifteenth Amendment and extends only to the prevention by appropriate legistlation of the discriminatiion forbidden by that Amendment..."

p. 14 "I do believe, however, -- as Mr. Justice Harlan made clear...that the Framers of the Constitution:

'staked their faith that liberty would proper in the new Nation not primarily upon declarations of individual rights but upon the kind of government the Union was to have. And they determined that in a government of divided powers lay the best promise for realizing the free society it was their object to achieve.' (Italics supplied [by Button]. 

One aspect of this governmental edifice which the Framers sought to erect, and which H. R. 6400 would manifestly subvert, was the distribution of power between the Nation and the States, each supreme within its sphere, thus forming an indestructible Union of indestructible States." 

Other VCCG publications in the Image Portal

Creator

Button, Robert Y.

Source

General collection, Call Number JK1861.V82 B8, Library of the Virginia Museum of History and Culture, Virginia Historical Society

Publisher

Virginia Commission on Constitutional Government

Date

1965

Contributor

Virginia Museum of History and Culture, Virginia Historical Society

Rights

NO COPYRIGHT – UNITED STATES

The organization that has made the Item available believes that the Item is in the Public Domain under the laws of the United States, but a determination was not made as to its copyright status under the copyright laws of other countries. The Item may not be in the Public Domain under the laws of other countries. Please refer to the organization that has made the Item available for more information.
http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/NoC-US/1.0/

Acknowledgement of the Virginia Historical Society as a source is requested.

Notes

Learn more: 

Controlling the Vote -- Rights. Registration. Representation. Social Welfare History Image Portal
Voting Rights Act of 1965. An Introduction. Social Welfare History Project 

Hayter, J. M. (2017). The dream is lost. Voting rights and the politics of race in Richmond, Virginia. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky 

Moeser, J. V. & Dennis, R. M. (2020). The politics of annexation. Oligarchic power in a southern city. Open Access Edition. Digital publisher: VCU Libraries. Original (1982) edition Cambridge, MA: Schenkman Publishing Company 

Hershman, J. H. Jr. Massive Resistance. (2011, June 29). Encyclopedia Virginia

Citation

Button, Robert Y. , “Constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act of 1965; a response to the Attorney General of the United States...,” Social Welfare History Image Portal, accessed September 29, 2020, https://images.socialwelfare.library.vcu.edu/items/show/553.