This Day In History: February 27

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In deciding the case Leser v. Garnett, the U.S. Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of the 19th Amendment—which, when ratified two years earlier, provided American women with the right to vote. The justices were unanimous in their decision to dismiss the challenge.

In the case, a prominent Baltimore lawyer named Oscar Leser sued to strike all women from Maryland's voting rolls on the grounds that the 19th Amendment infringed on state sovereignty, since the Maryland state legislature had refused to ratify the amendment. Maryland didn't certify the 19th amendment until 1958.

The 19th Amendment, which stated that “the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State on account of sex,” was the product of more than seven decades of meetings, petitions, and protests by women suffragists and their supporters.

In 1916, the Democratic and Republican parties endorsed female enfranchisement, and on June 4, 1919, the 19th Amendment was passed by Congress and sent to the states for ratification. On August 18, 1920, Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the amendment, achieving the required three-fourths majority of state ratification, and on August 26 the 19th Amendment officially took effect.