Current Issue

Volume 104 September 2019



The Thirteenth Amendment and Self-Determination

by Seth Davis

Slavery in the American South was a system of government that denied self-determination to Black communities. The Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution promised that “[n]either slavery nor involuntary servitude . . . shall exist within the United States.” Today, Black communities and other subordinated communities are demanding self- determination [...]


Thirteenth Amendment Reflections on Abortion, Surrogacy, and Race Selection

by Dov Fox

Pamela Bridgewater’s Breeding a Nation: Reproductive Slavery, the Thirteenth Amendment, and the Pursuit of Freedom never had a chance. South End Press went under shortly after publishing it in 2006, forcing the book out of print after a limited run. It is next to impossible to get a copy today. The author, a law professor and civil rights activist, passed away in 2014 at age forty-five [...] 


New Textualism and the Thirteenth Amendment

by Leah M. Litman

Michele Goodwin’s piece raises important questions about whether troubling modern-day labor practices in jails and prisons are consistent with the Thirteenth Amendment. In Goodwin’s telling, the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment formally ended the institution of slavery, but the Amendment allowed practices resembling slavery to continue, [...] 


The Thirteenth Amendment in Legal Theory

by George Rutherglen

Unique among constitutional amendments, the Thirteenth Amendment has been eclipsed by its own success. It gave rise directly to the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which was enacted under Section 2 of the Amendment; and the rights conferred by the 1866 Act, in turn, served as the model for Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment. Constitutional decisions have paid far more attention to the Due Process [...]