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University of Baltimore Law

Civil Rights and Discrimination

2007

Civil rights

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Interpreting The Fourteenth Amendment: Two Don'ts And Three Dos, Garrett Epps Dec 2007

Interpreting The Fourteenth Amendment: Two Don'ts And Three Dos, Garrett Epps

All Faculty Scholarship

A sophisticated reading of the legislative record of the framing of the Fourteenth Amendment can provide courts and scholars with some general interpretive principles to guide their application of the Amendment to current legal problems. The author argues that two common legal conceptions about the Amendment are, in fact, misconceptions. The first is that the Amendment was chiefly concerned with the immediate situation of freed slaves in the former slave states. Instead, he argues, the legislative record suggests that the framers were broadly concerned with the rights not only of freed slaves but also of foreign-born immigrants in the North ...