Civil Rights: Challenge from the South

The significance of the case on trial before the U.S. Supreme Court could not be underestimated. Twenty-six states were lined up on opposing sides. U.S.

Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach himself was both defendant and defense counsel. The court allotted eight hours—longest in memory—for oral arguments. Even Chief Justice Earl Warren was moved to note that the outcome of South Carolina v. Nicholas deB. Katzenbach would have "wide and profound implications in the life of our nation."

At issue was the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, enacted in August, which outlawed...