David Gans on the Scholars' Brief in Shelby County v. Holder
At Balkinization, David Gans: Scholars’ Brief in Shelby County v. Holder Urges Fidelity to Text and History of Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments. From the post:
[T]he brief Constitutional Accountability Center filed on behalf of scholars including Jack Balkin in Shelby County v. Holder ... present[s] the Court with a uniquely comprehensive account of the Enforcement Clauses of the Reconstruction Amendments... The brief, which is available here and is signed by Jack as well as Professors Guy-Uriel Charles, Luis Fuentes-Rohwer, and Adam Winkler, analyzes the text and history of the Enforcement Clause of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments to show that the original meaning of the express grant of power to “enforce” by “appropriate legislation” gave Congress broad discretion to enact legislation to protect the Reconstruction Amendments’ new constitutional guarantees of freedom, fundamental rights and equality, and voting rights. This is the first time in modern Supreme Court history – and perhaps ever – that the Court has been presented with the text and history of all three of the Reconstruction Amendments. The payoff is a clear and comprehensive showing how the American people fundamentally altered the Constitution and the balance of federal-state power to give Congress the power to ensure that fundamental rights, like the right to vote, were actually enjoyed, and to prevent and deter state-sponsored discrimination.