the WDET The Book Club continues its discussions on we Constitution to better understand how the document influences our daily life. It also examines the ways in which the coaches got it wrong. the we The Founding Fathers drafted the Constitution in a way that preserved the slave trade and allowed for the capture and transfer of escaped slaves across state lines. They counted African Americans as three-fifths of a person so the South had a demographic advantage.
“The framers of the Constitution achieved exactly what they intended to achieve with regard to race – namely, maintaining the institution of slavery, indigenous peoples received even less attention and, subsequently, the Constitution authorized their repeated relocation and attempted genocide. —Professor Alan Jenkins, Harvard Law School
WDETStephen Henderson speaks with two legal scholars about how the Constitution, while being a radical document at the time, is also a fundamentally flawed document with key flaws that need to be addressed.
Listen: professors of race, law and history discuss what the editors did wrong.
Alan jenkins is a professor of practice at Harvard Law School where he teaches race and law, communication and social justice. Jenkins believes that while the Constitution is an essential element in guaranteeing equality, it is not enough on its own. “The framers of the Constitution achieved exactly what they set out to do with regard to race, namely to uphold the institution of slavery, indigenous peoples received even less attention and subsequently , the Constitution authorized their repeated relocation and attempted genocide. ”
Jenkins says the 14the The amendment, which was part of the Reconstruction Amendments, was meant to be transformative, but was interpreted by a Supreme Court appointed by President Richard Nixon in an intentionally narrow fashion. “You have an increasingly conservative, intentionally anti-civil rights Supreme Court […] who announced that the anti-discrimination provisions of the equal protection clause require a demonstration of intent. In other words, it is not enough that the state has passed a law or enacted something that discriminates against blacks or other people of color in practice, ”he says. “You also have to show that there was an intention towards this racial group. Which is very difficult to prove under the law.
Jenkins argues that this earlier ruling is being used today to repeal vital laws, like the Voting Rights Act of 1965, in order to remove equal opportunity opportunities. “[T]the law on the right to vote […] that really helped transform our country and make it more equitable and inclusive is overturned by this conservative Supreme Court on the absurd – in my opinion – argument that it considers race too much. ”
“Any imagined potential amendment must not only be approved by both houses of Congress, but must then be ratified by a qualified majority of we States. As a result, it is relatively rare that there is a serious discussion about amending the Constitution. —Professor David J. Garrow, University of Pittsburgh
David J. Garrow is a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and author, professor and scholar emeritus at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, where he teaches law and history. According to Garrow, Andrew Johnson and Ulysses S. Grant were unwilling to make the military investment to fight the defeated white supremacists in the South, so the post-Reconstruction era was appalling for black Americans in the South. South. “Reconstruction has ended because of white pushback and federal abandonment of the new biracial political world in the South.”
Garrow says the difficulty of amending the Constitution is one of the main reasons we now rely so heavily on the federal courts to interpret it. “Any imagined potential amendment must not only be approved by both houses of Congress, but must then be ratified by a qualified majority of we States. As a result, it is relatively rare that there is a serious discussion about amending the Constitution, ”he underlines. “This is what leaves us where the federal courts, especially the Supreme Court, weigh so heavily, so important. Because the Constitution is pretty much their baby, rather than the American people at large. ”
Web story written by Dan Netter