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The Justice Department acquired the power to review not just changes in registration procedure and other obvious disfranchising devices, but the institution of at-large voting, new district lines, and other changes potentially affecting minority voting strength.
As Klarman effectively documents in his book, a series of Supreme Court decisions invalidating laws disfranchising blacks proved to be almost completely ineffective in increasing black voter registration in the South.
Moreover, unlike the more subtle Jim Crow laws of earlier decades, laws disfranchising blacks, relegating them to peonage, consigning them to unequal accommodations on common carriers, or limiting their ability to own and alienate property could easily have been seen as an explicit attempt by Southern legislatures to undermine federal law.
Curiously enough, and perhaps buttressing The Canon's point that laws disfranchising blacks also disfranchised poor whites, the voters in Mills did not allege their own race or the racial bias of the registration laws.
Although The Canon builds a good case that the Alabama constitution passed only by virtue of electoral fiddling (Pildes, The Canon at 315-16 (cited in note 2)), it also makes the odd statement that in North Carolina the disfranchising constitution passed with a margin of "only" 58.
Teasley, (24) "have made it quite difficult to bring the question [of whether the disfranchising constitutions violated the Fifteenth Amendment] squarely before the Supreme Court.
In North Carolina, for example, Republican Party leaders, though fighting disfranchisement, dissuaded black leaders from mobilizing opposition during the 1900 campaign for popular approval of the constitutional disfranchising amendments.
Although the Howe still overturned individual election results from Southern states as late as 1900,(57) by 1896 the House began making it clear that it would not act on challenges to the emerging disfranchising constitutions.
The graded school men rallied in response to Populist attacks by favoring the white supremacist Democrats and the disfranchising laws that they used to push out Populists and Republicans and restrict African-American voting.