Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.
- Douglas Adams (1952-2001)
Today is Monday - February 27th, 2017
On This Day In History:
1922 - 19th Amendment
On this day in 1922, the Supreme Court unanimously upheld the 19th Amendment to the Constitution that guaranteed the right of women to vote.
Mr. Justice BRANDEIS delivered the opinion of the Court.
On October 12, 1920, Cecilia Streett Waters and Mary D. Randolph, citizens of Maryland, applied for and were granted registration as qualified voters in Baltimore City. To have their names stricken from the list Oscar Leser and others brought this suit in the court of common pleas. The only ground of disqualification alleged was that the applicants for registration were women, whereas the Constitution of Maryland limits the suffrage to men. Ratification of the proposed amendment to the federal Constitution, now known as the Nineteenth, had been proclaimed on August 26, 1920, pursuant to Revised Statutes, § 205. The Legislature of Maryland had refused to ratify it. The petitioners contended, on several grounds, that the amendment had not become part of the federal Constitution. The trial court overruled the contentions and dismissed the petition. Its judgment was affirmed by the Court of Appeals of the state and the case comes here on writ of error. That writ must be dismissed; but the petition for a writ of certiorari, also duly filed, is granted. The laws of Maryland authorize such a suit by a qualified voter against the board of registry.
Whether the Nineteenth Amendment has become part of the federal Constitution is the question presented for decision.
The first contention is that the power of amendment conferred by the federal Constitution and sought to be exercise does not extend to this amendment because of its character. The argument is that so great an addition to the electorate, if made without the state's consent, destroys its autonomy as a political body. This amendment is in character and phraseology precisely similar to the Fifteenth. For each the same method of adoption was pursued. One cannot be valid and the other invalid. That the Fifteenth is valid, although rejected by six states, including Maryland, has been recognized and acted on for half a century.
The suggestion that the Fifteenth was incorporated in the Constitution, not in accordance with law, but practically as a war measure which has been validated by acquiescence, cannot be entertained.
The second contention is that in the Constitutions of several of the 36 states named in the proclamation of the Secretary of State there are provisions which render inoperative the alleged ratifications by their Legislatures. The argument by reason of these specific provisions the Legislatures were without power to ratify. But the function of a state Legislature in ratifying a proposed amendment to the federal Constitution, like the function of Congress in proposing the amendment, is a federal function derived from the federal Constitution; and it transcends any limitations sought to be imposed by the people of a state.
The remaining contention is that the ratifying resolutions of Tennessee and of West Virginia are inoperative, because adopted in violation of the rules of legislative procedure prevailing in the respective states. The question raised may have been rendered immaterial by the fact that since the proclamation the Legislatures of two other states-Connecticut and Vermont-have adopted resolutions of ratification. But a broader answer should be given to the contention. The proclamation by the Secretary certified that from official documents on file in the Department of State it appeared that the proposed amendment was ratified by the Legislatures of 36 states, and that it "has become valid to all intents and purposes as a part of the Constitution of the United States." As the Legislatures of Tennessee and of West Virginia had power to adopt the resolutions of ratification, official notice to the Secretary, duly authenticated, that they had done so, was conclusive upon him, and, being certified to by his proclamation, is conclusive upon the courts. The rule declared in Field v. Clark, is applicable here.
Celebrating Birthdays Today:
What Happened on Your Special Day?
I became a fan of "today in history" information when I was very young. My father had a calendar that he had put together of "reasons to celebrate". If anybody asked "what are we celebrating?" my father could check his book and come up with a reason to celebrate for any day of the year. Charlie Chaplin's birthday, Buster Keaton's birthday, the anniversary of the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge, for every day of the year, my father's calendar had some interesting historical event that had occurred.
With this page I have tried to continue the tradition. Generally, I prefer to include birthdays and anniversaries of positive, uplifting, life affirming people and events that have had particular significance in my life. It's here because it was important to me.
I am trying to continually update with links from stories to other relevant sites. Check back regularly for a story on something interesting that happened on this day in history.
There are many, many, sites out there that have a lot of "this day in history" information. Many are not so great, full of inaccurate information and "negative vibes". However, there are a few that are really fabulous. Here are links to a few of my favorites. These sites feature "Today in History" stories for today, and some include archives that will enable you to look up information for any other date in history that is special to you:
This Day in History
The History Channel tells you what happened in Automotive, Civil War, Cold War, Crime, Entertainment, General Interest, Literary, Old West, Vietnam War, Wall Street, and World War II history for today or any day.
Life Magazine Covers
Life offers a look at covers from this day in history.
New York Times: On This Day
Lists events which occurred on each month and day of the year throughout history. Links to New York Times articles on the events when available.
Today in History
Stories and pictures from the American Memory historical collections of the U.S. Library of Congress.
The Internet Movie Database
The Internet Movie Database claims itself to be the biggest, best, most award-winning movie site on the planet. I'm not sure if it really is, but it is huge and has TONS of info on even the most obscure films, movies stars, directors, producers, etc. If it is motion picture related, you can probably find out something about it at this site.