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46 Colum. Hum. Rts. L. Rev. 233 (2014-2015)
Violence and Exclusion: Felon Disenfranchisement as a Badge of Slavery

handle is hein.journals/colhr46 and id is 661 raw text is: 







            VIOLENCE AND EXCLUSION:
         FELON DISENFRANCHISEMENT
              AS A BADGE OF SLAVERY



                        Shadman Zaman*

                            ABSTRACT

       In the United States, felons lose their right to vote. In thirty-
five states, felons remain disenfranchised even after they have served
their sentence or are released on parole or probation. Legal challenges
to felon disenfranchisement in the absence of clear racial animus have
been unsuccessful. I argue that the Thirteenth Amendment provides a
novel avenue for challenging disenfranchisement.
       This Note begins by examining two important definitional
questions upon which the Thirteenth Amendment argument against
felon disenfranchisement turns. First, what is a badge of slavery?
Second, what is slavery? After answering these two questions by
analyzing judicial precedent and scholarly argument, this Note
re-evaluates the history of disenfranchisement from its roots in Ancient
Greece to modernity. In examining the history, this Note demonstrates
that felon disenfranchisement is conduct consistent with the definition
of a badge of slavery.
       Indeed, felon disenfranchisement has stripped individuals of
their ability to control the conditions of their existence across time. Not
only has disenfranchisement always resulted in the violent control of
persons convicted of felonies and other infamous crimes, but it has
also resulted in the renewed subjugation of persons in modern day
America.   Social   scientists have   convincingly  shown    that
disenfranchisement dilutes the voting power of minority communities,
not only by limiting the number of people who can vote, but also
by (indirectly) discouraging community members who can vote
from participating in the political process. Given that there is a


   *   J.D. Candidate, 2015, Columbia Law School. I would like to thank
Professor Brett Dignam for her invaluable guidance and encouragement. I would
also like to thank Billy Monks, David Imamura, and the staff of the Columbia
Human Rights Law Review for their hard work on this note. Finally, I would like
to thank my parents for all their support.

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