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Legal history

2020

Legal History

University of Georgia School of Law

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Marshall Shapo's "Constitutional Tort" Fifty-Five Years Later, Michael Wells Jan 2020

Marshall Shapo's "Constitutional Tort" Fifty-Five Years Later, Michael Wells

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In 1965, Northwestern University Law Review published Professor Marshall Shapo’s article, Constitutional Tort: Monroe v. Pape and the Frontiers Beyond.1 Professor Shapo’s paper analyzed the origins of constitutional tort law, which consists of suits for damages for constitutional violations committed by government officials or the governments themselves. The article began with an account of the post-Civil War background of 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a statute enacted in 1871 to enforce the Fourteenth Amendment. After the Civil War, recalcitrant southerners, acting through groups like the Ku Klux Klan, intimidated the freedmen and their white supporters, organized lynch mobs, burned houses, and, …