This Article engages the equality principles of the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause to reconsider the constitutionality of one of the last and most entrenched barriers to universal suffrage—felon disenfranchisement. A deeply racialized problem, felon disenfranchisement is additionally and independently a legislative judgment as to which citizen‘s ideas are worthy of inclusion in the electorate. Relying on a series of cases involving state interests in protecting the ballot and promoting its intelligent use, this Article demonstrates that felon disenfranchisement is open to attack under the Supreme Court‘s fundamental rights jurisprudence when it is motivated by a desire to limit political expression based on its perceived content; in other words, when felon disenfranchisement is motivated by viewpoint discrimination.
Janai S. Nelson,
The First Amendment, Equal Protection and Felon Disenfranchisement: A New Viewpoint,
65 Fla. L. Rev.
Available at: http://scholarship.law.ufl.edu/flr/vol65/iss1/3