Two counts of an indictment found in a federal district court charged that appellees, Commissioners of Elections, conducting a primary election under Louisiana law, to nominate a candidate of the Democratic Party for representative in Congress, willfully altered and falsely counted and certified the ballots of voters cast in the primary election. The questions for decision are whether the right of qualified voters to vote in the Louisiana primary and to have their ballots counted is a right "secured by the Constitution" within the meaning of §§ 19 and 20 of the Criminal Code, and whether the acts of appellees charged in the indictment violate those sections.
On September 25, 1940, appellees were indicted in the District Court for Eastern Louisiana for violations of §§ 19 and 20 of the Criminal Code, 18 U.S.C. §§ 51, 52. The first count of the indictment alleged that a primary election was held on September 10, 1940, for the purpose of nominating a candidate of the Democratic Party for
The charge, based on these allegations, was that the appellees conspired with each other, and with others unknown, to injure and oppress citizens in the free exercise and enjoyment of rights and privileges secured to them by the Constitution and Laws of the United States, namely, (1) the right of qualified voters who cast their ballots in the primary election to have their ballots counted as cast for the candidate of their choice, and (2) the right of the candidates to run for the office of Congressman and to have the votes in favor of their nomination counted as cast. The overt acts alleged were that the appellees altered eighty-three ballots cast for one candidate and fourteen cast for another, marking and counting them as votes for a third candidate, and that they falsely certified the number of votes cast for the respective candidates to the chairman of the Second Congressional District Committee.
The second count, repeating the allegations of fact already detailed, charged that the appellees, as Commissioners of Election, willfully and under color of law subjected registered voters at the primary who were inhabitants of Louisiana to the deprivation of rights, privileges and immunities secured and protected by the Constitution and Laws of the United States, namely their right to cast their votes for the candidates of their choice and to have their votes counted as cast. It further charged
The District Court sustained a demurrer to counts 1 and 2 on the ground that §§ 19 and 20 of the Criminal Code, under which the indictment was drawn, do not apply to the state of facts disclosed by the indictment, and that, if applied to those facts, §§ 19 and 20 are without constitutional sanction, citing United States v. Gradwell, 243 U.S. 476, 488, 489; Newberry v. United States, 256 U.S. 232. The case comes here on direct appeal from the District Court under the provisions of the Criminal Appeals Act, Judicial Code, § 238, 18 U.S.C. § 682; 28 U.S.C. § 345, which authorize an appeal by the United States from a decision or judgment sustaining a demurrer to an indictment where the decision or judgment is "based upon the invalidity or construction of the statute upon which the indictment is founded."
Upon such an appeal our review is confined to the questions of statutory construction and validity decided by the District Court. United States v. Patten, 226 U.S. 525; United States v. Birdsall, 233 U.S. 223, 230; United States v. Borden Co., 308 U.S. 188, 192-193. Hence, we do not pass upon various arguments advanced by appellees as to the sufficiency and construction of the indictment.
Section 19 of the Criminal Code condemns as a criminal offense any conspiracy to injure a citizen in the exercise "of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States." Section 20 makes it a penal offense for anyone who, acting "under color of any law," "willfully subjects, or causes to be subjected, any inhabitant of any State . . . to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, and immunities secured and
Article I, § 2 of the Constitution, commands that "The House of Representatives shall be composed of members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States and the Electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature." By § 4 of the same article "The times, places and manner of holding elections for Senators and Representatives shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators." Such right as is secured by the Constitution to qualified voters to choose members of the House of Representatives is thus to be exercised in conformity to the requirements of state law subject to the restrictions prescribed by § 2 and to the authority conferred on Congress by § 4, to regulate the times, places and manner of holding elections for representatives.
We look then to the statutes of Louisiana here involved to ascertain the nature of the right which under the constitutional mandate they define and confer on the voter, and the effect upon its exercise of the acts with which appellees are charged, all with the view to determining,
Pursuant to the authority given by § 2 of Article I of the Constitution, and subject to the legislative power of Congress under § 4 of Article I, and other pertinent provisions of the Constitution, the states are given, and in fact exercise, a wide discretion in the formulation of a system for the choice by the people of representatives in Congress. In common with many other states, Louisiana has exercised that discretion by setting up machinery for the effective choice of party candidates for representative in Congress by primary elections, and by its laws it eliminates or seriously restricts the candidacy at the general election of all those who are defeated at the primary. All political parties, which are defined as those that have cast at least 5 per cent of the total vote at specified preceding elections, are required to nominate their candidates for representative by direct primary elections. Louisiana Act No. 46, Regular Session, 1940, §§ 1 and 3.
The primary is conducted by the state at public expense. Act No. 46, supra, § 35. The primary, as is the general election, is subject to numerous statutory regulations as to the time, place and manner of conducting the election, including provisions to insure that the ballots cast at the primary are correctly counted, and the results of the count correctly recorded and certified to the Secretary of State, whose duty it is to place the names of the successful candidates of each party on the official
One whose name does not appear on the primary ballot, if otherwise eligible to become a candidate at the general election, may do so in either of two ways: by filing nomination papers with the requisite number of signatures or by having his name "written in" on the ballot on the final election. Louisiana Act No. 224, Regular Session 1940, §§ 50, 73. Section 87 of Act No. 46 provides "No one who participates in the primary election of any political party shall have the right to participate in a primary election of any other political party, with the view of nominating opposing candidates, nor shall he be permitted to sign any nomination for any opposing candidate or candidates; nor shall he be permitted to be himself a candidate in opposition to anyone nominated at or through a primary election in which he took part."
Section 15 of Article VIII of the Constitution of Louisiana as amended by Act 80 of 1934, provides that "no person whose name is not authorized to be printed on the official ballot, as the nominee of a political party or as
The right to vote for a representative in Congress at the general election is, as a matter of law, thus restricted to the successful party candidate at the primary, to those not candidates at the primary who file nomination papers, and those whose names may be lawfully written into the ballot by the electors. Even if, as appellees argue, contrary to the decision in Serpas v. Trebucq, supra, voters may lawfully write into their ballots, cast at the general election, the name of a candidate rejected at the primary and have their ballots counted, the practical operation of the primary law in otherwise excluding from the ballot on the general election the names of candidates rejected at the primary is such as to impose serious restrictions upon the choice of candidates by the voters save by voting at the primary election. In fact, as alleged in the indictment, the practical operation of the primary in Louisiana is, and has been since the primary election was established in 1900, to secure the election of the Democratic primary
Interference with the right to vote in the Congressional primary in the Second Congressional District for the choice of Democratic candidate for Congress is thus, as a matter of law and in fact, an interference with the effective choice of the voters at the only stage of the election procedure when their choice is of significance, since it is at the only stage when such interference could have any practical effect on the ultimate result, the choice of the Congressman to represent the district. The primary in Louisiana is an integral part of the procedure for the popular choice of Congressman. The right of qualified voters to vote at the Congressional primary in Louisiana and to have their ballots counted is thus the right to participate in that choice.
We come then to the question whether that right is one secured by the Constitution. Section 2 of Article I commands that Congressmen shall be chosen by the people of the several states by electors, the qualifications of which it prescribes. The right of the people to choose, whatever its appropriate constitutional limitations, where in other respects it is defined, and the mode of its exercise is prescribed by state action in conformity to the Constitution, is a right established and guaranteed by the Constitution and hence is one secured by it to those citizens and inhabitants of the state entitled to exercise the right. Ex parte Yarbrough, 110 U.S. 651; United States v. Mosley, 238 U.S. 383. And see Hague v. C.I.O., 307 U.S. 496, 508, 513, 526, 527, 529, giving the same interpretation to the like phrase "rights" "secured by the
Obviously included within the right to choose, secured by the Constitution, is the right of qualified voters within a state to cast their ballots and have them counted at Congressional elections. This Court has consistently held that this is a right secured by the Constitution. Ex parte Yarbrough, supra; Wiley v. Sinkler, supra; Swafford v. Templeton, supra; United States v. Mosley, supra; see Ex parte Siebold, supra; In re Coy, 127 U.S. 731; Logan v. United States, 144 U.S. 263. And since the constitutional command is without restriction or limitation, the right, unlike those guaranteed by the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, is secured against the action of individuals as well as of states. Ex parte Yarbrough, supra; Logan v. United States, supra.
But we are now concerned with the question whether the right to choose at a primary election, a candidate for election as representative, is embraced in the right to choose representatives secured by Article I, § 2. We may
That the free choice by the people of representatives in Congress, subject only to the restrictions to be found in §§ 2 and 4 of Article I and elsewhere in the Constitution, was one of the great purposes of our constitutional scheme of government cannot be doubted. We cannot regard it as any the less the constitutional purpose, or its words as any the less guarantying the integrity of that choice, when a state, exercising its privilege in the absence of Congressional action, changes the mode of choice from a single step, a general election, to two, of which the first is the choice at a primary of those candidates
Nor can we say that that choice which the Constitution protects is restricted to the second step because § 4 of Article I, as a means of securing a free choice of representatives by the people, has authorized Congress to regulate the manner of elections, without making any mention of primary elections. For we think that the authority of Congress, given by § 4, includes the authority to regulate primary elections when, as in this case, they are a step in the exercise by the people of their choice of representatives in Congress. The point whether the power conferred by § 4 includes in any circumstances the power to regulate primary elections was reserved in United States v. Gradwell, supra, 487. In Newberry v. United States, supra, four Justices of this Court were of opinion that the term "elections" in § 4 of Article I did not embrace a primary election, since that procedure was unknown to the framers. A fifth Justice, who with them pronounced the judgment of the Court, was of opinion that a primary, held under a law enacted before the adoption of the Seventeenth Amendment, for the nomination of candidates for Senator, was not an election within the meaning of § 4 of Article I of the Constitution, presumably because the choice of the primary imposed no legal restrictions on the election of Senators by the state legislatures to which their election had been committed by Article I, § 3. The remaining four Justices were of the opinion that a primary election for the choice of candidates for Senator or Representative were elections subject to regulation by Congress within the meaning of § 4 of Article I. The question then has not been prejudged by any decision of this Court.
To decide it we turn to the words of the Constitution read in their historical setting as revealing the purpose of its framers, and search for admissible meanings of its
Long before the adoption of the Constitution the form and mode of that expression had changed from time to time. There is no historical warrant for supposing that the framers were under the illusion that the method of effecting the choice of the electors would never change or that, if it did, the change was for that reason to be permitted to defeat the right of the people to choose representatives for Congress which the Constitution had guaranteed. The right to participate in the choice of representatives for Congress includes, as we have said, the right to cast a ballot and to have it counted at the general election, whether for the successful candidate or not. Where the state law has made the primary an integral part of the procedure of choice, or where in fact the primary effectively controls the choice, the right of the elector to have his ballot counted at the primary is likewise included in the right protected by Article I, § 2. And this right of participation is protected just as is the right to vote at the election, where the primary is by law made an integral part of the election machinery, whether the voter exercises his right in a party primary which invariably, sometimes or never determines the ultimate choice of the representative. Here, even apart from the circumstance that the Louisiana primary is made by law an
Unless the constitutional protection of the integrity of "elections" extends to primary elections, Congress is left powerless to effect the constitutional purpose, and the popular choice of representatives is stripped of its constitutional protection save only as Congress, by taking over the control of state elections, may exclude from them the influence of the state primaries.
Not only does § 4 of Article I authorize Congress to regulate the manner of holding elections, but by Article I, § 8, Clause 18, Congress is given authority "to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States or in any department or officer thereof." This provision leaves to the Congress the choice of means by which its constitutional powers are to be carried into execution. "Let the end be legitimate; let it be within the scope of the Constitution, and all means which are appropriate, which are plainly adapted to that end, which are not prohibited, but consist with the letter and spirit of the Constitution, are constitutional." McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat. 316, 421. That principle has been consistently adhered to and liberally applied. and extends to the congressional power by appropriate legislation to safeguard the right of choice by the people of representatives in Congress, secured by § 2 of Article I. Ex parte Yarbrough, supra, 657, 658; cf. Second Employers Liability Cases, 223 U.S. 1, 49; Houston & Texas Ry. Co. v. United States, 234 U.S. 342, 350, 355; Wilson v. New, 243 U.S. 332, 346, 347; First National Bank v. Union Trust Co., 244 U.S. 416, 419; Selective Draft Law Cases, 245 U.S. 366, 381; United States v. Ferger, 250 U.S. 199, 205; Hamilton v.
There remains the question whether §§ 19 and 20 are an exercise of the congressional authority applicable to the acts with which appellees are charged in the indictment. Section 19 makes it a crime to conspire to "injure" or "oppress" any citizen "in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution."
The suggestion that § 19, concededly applicable to conspiracies to deprive electors of their votes at congressional elections, is not sufficiently specific to be deemed applicable to primary elections, will hardly bear examination. Section 19 speaks neither of elections nor of primaries. In unambiguous language it protects "any right or privilege secured by the Constitution," a phrase which, as we have seen, extends to the right of the voter to have his vote counted in both the general election and in the primary election, where the latter is a part of the election machinery, as well as to numerous other constitutional rights which are wholly unrelated to the choice of a representative in Congress. United States v. Waddell, 112 U.S. 76; Logan v. United States, 144 U.S. 263; In re Quarles, 158 U.S. 532; Motes v. United States, 178 U.S. 458; Guinn v. United States, 238 U.S. 347.
In the face of the broad language of the statute, we are pointed to no principle of statutory construction
It is hardly the performance of the judicial function to construe a statute, which in terms protects a right secured by the Constitution, here the right to choose a representative in Congress, as applying to an election whose only function is to ratify a choice already made at the primary, but as having no application to the primary which is the only effective means of choice. To withdraw from the scope of the statute an effective interference with the constitutional right of choice, because other wholly different situations not now before us may not be found to involve such an interference, cf. United States v. Bathgate, 246 U.S. 220; United States v. Gradwell, 243 U.S. 476, is to say that acts plainly within the statute should be deemed to be without it because other hypothetical cases may later be found not to infringe the constitutional right with which alone the statute is concerned.
If a right secured by the Constitution may be infringed by the corrupt failure to include the vote at a primary in the official count, it is not significant that the primary, like the voting machine, was unknown when § 19 was adopted.
The right of the voters at the primary to have their votes counted is, as we have stated, a right or privilege secured by the Constitution, and to this § 20 also gives protection.
The last clause of § 20 protects inhabitants of a state from being subjected to different punishments, pains or penalties, by reason of alienage, color or race, than are prescribed for the punishment of citizens. That the qualification with respect to alienage, color and race, refers only to differences in punishment and not to deprivations of any rights or privileges secured by the Constitution, is evidenced by the structure of the section and the necessities of the practical application of its provisions. The qualification as to alienage, color and race, is a parenthetical phrase in the clause penalizing different punishments "than are prescribed for citizens," and in the common use of language could refer only to the subject-matter of the clause and not to that of the earlier one relating to the deprivation of rights to which it makes no reference in terms.
Moreover, the prohibited differences of punishment on account of alienage, color or race, are those referable to prescribed punishments which are to be compared with those prescribed for citizens. A standard is thus set up applicable to differences in prescribed punishments on account of alienage, color or race, which it would be difficult,
We do not discuss the application of § 20 to deprivations of the right to equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment, a point apparently raised and discussed for the first time in the Government's brief in this Court. The point was not specially considered or decided by the court below, and has not been assigned as error by the Government. Since the indictment on its face does not purport to charge a deprivation of equal protection to voters or candidates, we are not called upon to construe the indictment in order to raise a question of statutory validity or construction which we are alone authorized to review upon this appeal.
The CHIEF JUSTICE took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.
MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS, dissenting.
Free and honest elections are the very foundation of our republican form of government. Hence any attempt to defile the sanctity of the ballot cannot be viewed with equanimity. As stated by Mr. Justice Miller in Ex parte Yarbrough, 110 U.S. 651, 666, "the temptations to control these elections by violence and corruption" have been a constant source of danger in the history of all republics. The acts here charged, if proven, are of a kind which carries that threat and are highly offensive. Since they corrupt the process of Congressional elections, they transcend mere local concern and extend a contaminating influence into the national domain.
I think Congress has ample power to deal with them. That is to say, I disagree with Newberry v. United States, 256 U.S. 232, to the extent that it holds that Congress
So I agree with most of the views expressed in the opinion of the Court. And it is with diffidence that I dissent from the result there reached.
We enter perilous territory because, as stated in United States v. Gradwell, 243 U.S. 476, 485, there is no common law offense against the United States; "the legislative authority of the Union must make an act a crime, affix a punishment to it, and declare the Court that shall have jurisdiction of the offence." United States v. Hudson, 7 Cranch 32, 34. If a person is to be convicted of a crime, the offense must be clearly and plainly embraced within the statute. As stated by Chief Justice Marshall in United States v. Wiltberger, 5 Wheat. 76, 105, "probability is not a guide which a court, in construing a penal statute, can safely take." It is one thing to allow wide and generous scope to the express and implied powers of Congress; it is distinctly another to read into the vague and general language of an act of Congress specifications of crimes. We should ever be mindful that "before a man can be punished, his case must be plainly and unmistakably within the statute." United States v. Lacher, 134 U.S. 624, 628. That admonition is reemphasized here by the fact that § 19 imposes not only a fine of $5,000 and ten years in prison, but also makes him who is convicted "ineligible to any office, or place of honor, profit, or trust created by the Constitution or laws of the United States." It is not enough for us to find in the vague penumbra of a statute some offense about which Congress could have legislated, and then to particularize it as a crime because it is highly
Sec. 19 does not purport to be an exercise by Congress of its power to regulate primaries. It merely penalizes conspiracies "to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any citizen in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States." Thus, it does no more than refer us to the Constitution
There can be put to one side cases where state election officials deprive negro citizens of their right to vote at a general election (Guinn v. United States, 238 U.S. 347), or at a primary. Nixon v. Herndon, 273 U.S. 536; Nixon v. Condon, 286 U.S. 73. Discrimination on the basis of race or color is plainly outlawed by the Fourteenth Amendment. Since the constitutional mandate is plain, there is no reason why § 19 or § 20 should not be applicable. But the situation here is quite different. When we turn to the constitutional provisions relevant to this case we find no such unambiguous mandate.
Art. I, § 4 specifies the machinery whereby the times, places and manner of holding elections shall be established and controlled. Art. I, § 2 provides that representatives shall be "chosen" by the people. But for purposes of the
The Mosley case, in my view, went to the verge when it held that § 19 and the relevant constitutional provisions made it a crime to fail to count votes cast at a general election. That Congress intended § 19 to have that effect was none too clear. The dissenting opinion of Mr. Justice Lamar in that case points out that § 19 was originally part of the Enforcement Act of May 31, 1870, c. 114, § 6, 16 Stat. 140. Under another section of that act (§ 4), which was repealed by the Act of February 8, 1894 (28 Stat. 36), the crime charged in the Mosley case would have been punishable by a fine of not less than $500 and imprisonment for 12 months.
But as stated by a unanimous court in United States v. Gradwell, supra, p. 486, the Mosley case "falls far short" of making § 19 "applicable to the conduct of a state nominating primary." Indeed, Mr. Justice Holmes, the author of the Mosley opinion, joined with Mr. Justice McReynolds in the Newberry case in his view that Congress had no authority under Art. I, § 4 of the Constitution to legislate on primaries. When § 19
Furthermore, the fact that Congress has legislated only sparingly and at infrequent intervals even on the subject of general elections (United States v. Gradwell, supra) should make us hesitate to conclude that by mere inaction Congress has taken the greater step, entered the field of primaries, and gone further than any announced legislative program has indicated. The acts here charged constitute crimes under the Louisiana statute. La. Act No. 46, Reg. Sess. 1940, § 89. In absence of specific Congressional action we should assume that Congress has left the control of primaries and nominating conventions to the states — an assumption plainly in line with the Committee Report, quoted above, recommending the repeal of portions of the Enforcement Act of May 31, 1870 so as to place the details of elections in state hands. There is no ground for inference in subsequent legislative history that Congress has departed from that policy by superimposing its own primary penal law on the primary penal laws of the states. Rather, Congress has been fairly consistent in recognizing state autonomy in the field of elections. To be sure, it has occasionally legislated on primaries.
We should adhere to the strict construction given to § 19 by a unanimous court in United States v. Bathgate, 246 U.S. 220, 226, where it was said: "Section 19, Criminal Code, of course, now has the same meaning as when first enacted . . . and considering the policy of Congress not to interfere with elections within a State except by clear and specific provisions, together with the rule respecting construction of criminal statutes, we cannot think it was intended to apply to conspiracies to bribe voters." That leads to the conclusion that § 19 and the relevant constitutional provisions should be read so as to exclude all acts which do not have the direct effect of depriving voters of their right to vote at general elections. That view has received tacit recognition by Congress. For the history of legislation governing Federal elections shows that the occasional Acts of Congress
That § 19 lacks the requisite specificity necessary for inclusion of acts which interfere with the nomination of party candidates is reemphasized by the test here employed. The opinion of the Court stresses, as does the indictment, that the winner of the Democratic primary in Louisiana invariably carries the general election. It is also emphasized that a candidate defeated in the Louisiana primaries cannot be a candidate at the general election. Hence, it is argued that interference with the right to vote in such a primary is "as a matter of law and in fact an interference with the effective choice of the voters at the only stage of the election procedure when their choice is of significance," and that the "primary in Louisiana is an integral part of the procedure for the popular choice" of representatives. By that means, the Gradwell case is apparently distinguished. But I do not think it is a valid distinction for the purposes of this case.
One of the indictments in the Gradwell case charged that the defendants conspired to procure one thousand unqualified persons to vote in a West Virginia primary for the nomination of a United States Senator. This Court, by a unanimous vote, affirmed the judgment which sustained a demurrer to that indictment. The Court specifically reserved the question as to whether a "primary should be treated as an election within the meaning of the Constitution." But it went on to say that, even assuming it were, certain "strikingly unusual features" of the particular primary precluded such a holding in that case. It noted that candidates of certain parties were excluded from the primary, and that even candidates who were defeated at the primary could on certain conditions be nominated for the general election. It therefore concluded that whatever power Congress might have to control such primaries, it had not done so by § 19.
MR. JUSTICE BLACK and MR. JUSTICE MURPHY join in this dissent.
See also Investigation of Campaign Expenditures in the 1940 Campaign, S. Rept. No. 47, 77th Cong., 1st Sess., p. 48 et seq.
"If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any citizen in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same, or if two or more persons go in disguise on the highway, or on the premises of another, with intent to prevent or hinder his free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege so secured, they shall be fined not more than $5,000 and imprisoned not more than ten years, and shall, moreover, be thereafter ineligible to any office, or place of honor, profit, or trust created by the Constitution or laws of the United States." (R.S. § 5508; Mar. 4, 1909, c. 321, § 19, 35 Stat. 1092.)
"Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects, or causes to be subjected, any inhabitant of any State, Territory, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution and laws of the United States, or to different punishments, pains, or penalties, on account of such inhabitant being an alien, or by reason of his color, or race, than are prescribed for the punishment of citizens, shall be fined not more than $1,000, or imprisoned not more than one year, or both." (R.S. § 5510; Mar. 4, 1909, c. 321, § 20, 35 Stat. 1092.)
"That any person who, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, shall subject, or cause to be subjected, any inhabitant of any State or Territory to the deprivation of any right secured or protected by this act, or to different punishment, pains, or penalties on account of such person having at any time been held in a condition of slavery or involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, or by reason of his color or race, than is prescribed for the punishment of white persons, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and, on conviction shall be punished by fine. . . ."
This section, so far as now material, was in substance the same as § 20 except that the qualifying reference to differences in punishment made no mention of alienage, the reference being to "different punishment . . . on account of such person having at any time been held in a condition of slavery or involuntary servitude."
Senator Trumbull, the putative author of S. 61, 39th Cong., 1st Sess., the Civil Rights Bill of 1866, and Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee which reported the bill, in explaining it stated that the bill was "to protect all persons in the United States in their civil rights, and furnish the means of their vindication. . . ." Cong. Globe, 39th Cong., 1st Sess., p. 211. He also declared, "The bill applies to white men as well as black men." Cong. Globe, 39th Cong., 1st Sess., p. 599. Opponents of the bill agreed with this construction of the first clause of the section, declaring that it referred to the deprivation of constitutional rights of all inhabitants of the states of every race and color. Pp. 598, 601.
On February 24, 1870, Senator Stewart of Nevada, introduced S. 365, 41st Cong., 2d Sess., § 2 of which read:
"That any person who, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom shall subject, or cause to be subjected, any inhabitant of any State or Territory to the deprivation of any right secured or protected by this act, or to different punishment, pains, or penalties on account of such person being an alien, or by reason of his color or race, than is prescribed for the punishment of white persons, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor. . . ."
In explaining the bill he declared, Cong. Globe, 41st Cong., 2d Sess., p. 1536, that the purpose of the bill was to extend its benefits to aliens, saying, "It extends the operation of the Civil Rights Bill, which is well known in the Senate and to the country, to all persons within the jurisdiction of the United States." The Committee reported out a substitute bill to H.R. 1293, to which S. 365 was added as an amendment. As so amended the bill when adopted became the present § 20 of the Criminal Code which read exactly as did § 2 of the Civil Rights Act, except that the word "aliens" was added and the word "citizens" was substituted for the phrase "white persons."
While the legislative history indicates that the immediate occasion for the adoption of § 20, like the Fourteenth Amendment itself, was the more adequate protection of the colored race and their civil rights, it shows that neither was restricted to the purpose and that the first clause of § 20 was intended to protect the constitutional rights of all inhabitants of the states. H.R. 1293, 41st Cong., 2d Sess., which was later amended in the Senate to include § 2 of S. 365 as § 17 of the bill as it passed, now § 20 of the Criminal Code, was originally entitled "A bill to enforce the right of citizens of the United States to vote in the several States of this Union, who have hitherto been denied that right on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude." When the bill came to the Senate its title was amended and adopted to read, "A bill to enforce the right of citizens of the United States to vote in the several States of this Union and for other purposes."