DOCKET NO.: None
DECIDED BY: Waite Court (1882-1887)
ARGUED: Jan 23, 1884 / Jan 24, 1884
DECIDED: Mar 03, 1884
Facts of the case
The Enforcement Act of 1870, which targeted the violence caused by the Ku Klux Klan in the post-Civil War South, prohibited the use of violence or intimidation to prevent African-Americans from voting. In 1883, eight Georgia men, including Dilmus, James, Jasper, and Neal Yarbrough, were charged under the Enforcement Act with intimidating Berry Saunders, an African-American, to prevent him from voting in the 1882 congressional election. The eight were convicted and sentenced to two years in prison. Following their conviction, the eight men filed petitions for writs of habeas corpus on the ground that Congress had no authority to pass the Enforcement Act.
Did Congress have the authority to pass the Enforcement Act of 1870?