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Human Rights Law

Seattle University School of Law

Slavery

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Full-Text Articles in Law and Race

The Thirteenth Amendment, Human Trafficking, And Hate Crimes, Jennifer Mason Mcaward May 2016

The Thirteenth Amendment, Human Trafficking, And Hate Crimes, Jennifer Mason Mcaward

Seattle University Law Review

The two most recent federal statutes passed pursuant to Congress’s Thirteenth Amendment enforcement power are the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) and the Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Act of 2009. While the Thirteenth Amendment basis of the TVPA has never been questioned in court, the constitutionality of the Shepard-Byrd Act has been challenged (albeit unsuccessfully) in a series of recent cases. This Essay will consider this disparity and suggest that it tells us something about the parameters of the Thirteenth Amendment enforcement power. In particular, it suggests that congressional power is at its apex when the conduct regulated ...


The Thirteenth Amendment, Disparate Impact, And Empathy Deficits, Darrell A.H. Miller May 2016

The Thirteenth Amendment, Disparate Impact, And Empathy Deficits, Darrell A.H. Miller

Seattle University Law Review

Modern civil rights policy is, as the late Justice Scalia warned, at “war.” On the one hand, some laws, like Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) and the Fair Housing Act, can impose liability for decisions due to their racial impacts rather than their racial motivation. Defendants in such cases can always respond that the challenged decision (a test, a criterion, an allocation) is necessary in some legally cognizable sense; but the courthouse doors open with the prima facie case of disparate impact. On the other hand, the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause, ever ...


Class As Caste: The Thirteenth Amendment’S Applicability To Class-Based Subordination, William M. Carter Jr. May 2016

Class As Caste: The Thirteenth Amendment’S Applicability To Class-Based Subordination, William M. Carter Jr.

Seattle University Law Review

The Thirteenth Amendment currently enjoys a robust renaissance among legal scholars who contend that it provides a judicial remedy for and congressional authority to proscribe the “badges and incidents of slavery.” As discussed below, this interpretation, although not self- evident from the Amendment’s bare text, is well supported by the Amendment’s history and context, the Framers’ explicit intentions, the legislative debates in Congress leading to the Amendment’s adoption, and the contemporaneous legal understanding of the ways in which the Slave Power that had come to dominate and distort American society. This Article briefly explores whether the Thirteenth ...


Slave Contracts And The Thirteenth Amendment, John C. Williams May 2016

Slave Contracts And The Thirteenth Amendment, John C. Williams

Seattle University Law Review

The Thirteenth Amendment—the commandment that “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude . . . shall exist within the United States”— did not truly eradicate incidents of slavery. This is hardly a controversial point. The postwar emergence of the Black Codes—laws meant to confine African Americans’ ability to rent, travel, and live as free humans would expect to—ensured that slavery’s conditions continued unabated. The Amendment itself permits slavery to exist “as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.” Still, did the Thirteenth Amendment not abolish the most fundamental characteristic of chattel slavery—the ability to trade ...