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71 Md. L. Rev. 40 (2011-2012)
Congressional Authority to Interpret the Thirteenth Amendment

handle is hein.journals/mllr71 and id is 42 raw text is: CONGRESSIONAL AUTHORITY TO INTERPRET
Most scholars of the Thirteenth Amendment have argued that
Section 2 grants Congress broad powers to pass civil rights legisla-
tion.' Several critics have challenged this view, most expositivelyjen-
nifer Mason McAward, who has argued for adopting a more con-
strained perspective of congressional enforcement power.2 There
have been few recent Supreme Court decisions on the Thirteenth
Amendment to draw upon and those that are available conceive of
the Thirteenth Amendment expansively; therefore, the revisionist ar-
gument for a limited reading of the Thirteenth Amendment is in-
formed by the Rehnquist Court's Fourteenth Amendment jurispru-
dence stemming from the holding in City of Boerne v. Flores and its
Copyright @ 2011 by Alexander Tsesis.
'Associate Professor of Law, Loyola University School of Law-Chicago. Thanks to
George Rutherglen and Robert Kaczorowski for their substantive advice. I am grateful to
Joshua Rubin, Elizabeth Coyne, andJoseph Schaedler for remarks on an earlier draft.
1. See generally Akhil Reed Amar, Intratextualism, 112 HARV. L. REV. 747 (1999); Akhil
Reed Amar, The Case of the Missing Amendments: R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul, 106 HARV. L. REV.
124, 157 (1992); Baher Azmy, Unshackling the Thirteenth Amendment: Modern Slavery and a
Reconstructed Civil Rights Agenda, 71 FORDHAM L. REV. 981, 983-84 (2002); Jack M. Balkin,
The Reconstruction Power, 85 N.Y.U. L. REV. 1801, 1805 (2010); James Gray Pope, The Thir-
teenth Amendment Versus the Commerce Clause: Labor and the Shaping of American Constitutional
Law, 1921-1957, 102 COLUM. L. REv. 1, 118-20 (2002); Raja Raghunath, A Promise the Na-
tion Cannot Keep: What Prevents the Application of the Thirteenth Amendment in Prison?, 18 WM.
& MARY BILL RTs.J. 395, 439-40 (2009); Alexander Tsesis, Furthering American Freedom: Civil
Rights & the Thirteenth Amendment, 45 B.C. L. REV. 307, 358-59 (2004); Alexander Tsesis,
Interpreting the Thirteenth Amendment, 11 U. PA.J. CONST. L. 1337 (2009); Tobias Barrington
Wolff, The Thirteenth Amendment and Slavery in the Global Economy, 102 COLUM. L. REV. 973,
1007 (2002); Rebecca E. Zietlow, Free at Last! Anti-Subordination and the Thirteenth Amend-
ment, 90 B.U. L. REV. 255, 256 (2010).
2. Jennifer Mason McAward, The Scope of Congress's Thirteenth Amendment Enforcement
Power After City of Boerne v. Flores, 88 WASH. U. L. REv. 77 (2010). See also David P. Currie,
The Reconstruction Congress, 75 U. CHI. L. REv. 383, 396 n.84 (2008) (discussing City ofBoerne
v. 17ores); Jennifer S. Hendricks, Women and the Promise ofEqual Citizenship, 8 TEX.J. WOMEN
& L. 51, 78 (1998) (discussing the power that the Citizenship Clause bestows upon Con-


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