Constitutional Orphan: Gender Equality and the Nineteenth Amendment

ISBN : 9780190092795

Paula A. Monopoli
240 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Sep 2020
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An account of the ramifications of the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment and the divisions it created in the courts and Congress, and in the women's movement itself. Constitutional Orphan explores the role of former suffragists in the constitutional development of the Nineteenth Amendment, during the decade following its ratification in 1920. It examines the pivot to new missions, immediately after ratification, by two national suffrage organizations, the National Woman's Party and the National American Woman Suffrage Association. The NWP turned from suffrage to a federal equal rights amendment. NAWSA became the National League of Women Voters, and turned to voter education and social welfare legislation. The book then connects that pivot by both groups, to the emergence of a thin conception of the Nineteenth Amendment, as a matter of constitutional interpretation. It surfaces the history around the Congressional failure to enact enforcement legislation, pursuant to the Nineteenth, and connects that with the NWP's perceived need for southern Congressional votes for the ERA. It also explores the choice to turn away from African American women suffragists asking for help to combat voter suppression efforts, after the November 1920 presidential election; and then evaluates the deep divisions among NWP members, some of whom were social feminists who opposed the ERA, and the NLWV, which supported the social feminists in that opposition. The book also analyzes how state courts, left without federal enforcement legislation to constrain or guide them, used strict construction to cabin the emergence of a more robust interpretation of the Nineteenth. It concludes with an examination of new legal scholarship, which suggests broader ways in which the Nineteenth could be used today to expand gender equality.


Chapter 1: Ratification
Chapter 2: Validity
Chapter 3: Enforcement Legislation
Chapter 4: A Self-Executing Amendment
Chapter 5: Voting and Jury Service
Chapter 6: Voting and Holding Public Office
Chapter 7: Defining Equality
Chapter 8: The Nineteenth Amendment Today

About the author: 

Paula A. Monopoli is the Sol & Carlyn Hubert Professor of Law at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law, where she founded its Women, Leadership & Equality Program. She holds an appointment as a Visiting Scholar at the Moller Centre, Churchill College, University of Cambridge. Professor Monopoli received her B.A, cum laude, from Yale College, and her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law. She teaches in the areas of property and inheritance law, as well as gender and the law. Professor Monopoli has been widely recognized for her work in the fields of inheritance law and the intersection of gender and constitutional design.

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