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The story comes to mind now because the Supreme Court rendered its decision in Bush v. Gore1 without any reference to the Fifteenth Amendment in the opinion or any mention of it by any Justice or lawyer in the oral argument. The Amendment provides that "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color or previous condition of servitude." If I had been a Justice I would have asked the lawyers whether the Fifteenth Amendment was at all relevant to the outcome of the case. That question occurred to me almost as soon as the details about the transgressions in Florida occurred. As legal positions of the campaigns appeared in the media, I walked the halls of my school and told everyone willing to listen, "Why aren't they asking about the Fifteenth Amendment?" Justice Thurgood Marshall would have asked questions about it. So would W.E.B. DuBois, Frederick Douglas, Sojourner Truth, and Booker T. Washington.

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