Interview with Nicholas Katzenbach
QUESTION 20
INTERVIEWER:

NOW I HAVE TO ASK YOU KIND OF A BIG QUESTION WITH RESPONSE TO THIS, THERE'S THE QUESTION OF STATES RIGHTS VERSUS FEDERAL INTERVENTION ON THIS. HOW DID THAT FIT INTO THIS?

Nicholas Katzenbach:

In, uh, securing voting rights legislation we did have uh, potentially a constitutional problem, uh, on it, but uh, we felt that uh, under the fourteenth amendment, which uh, which uh, guaranteed rights to blacks. In fact we thought under the 13th Amendment as well, the, uh, that you could assert federal authority with respect to the voting process where it had been used for a constitutionally impermissible purpose of discriminating against uh, blacks because of their color. And uh, that was one that the Supreme Court vindicated us on, and a case that I had the pleasure of arguing for two hours.