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The Gem of the Constitution

In December 2008, CAC released the first narrative in its Text and History series. This narrative tells the sad story of the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which was supposed to be the centerpiece of the Fourteenth Amendment and the critical constitutional language that guarantees the fundamental rights of all Americans. Instead, the Supreme Court wrote it out of the Constitution in 1873 and it has lain dormant ever since. The report argues for a reconsideration of the Clause and its critical role of protecting fundamental rights and liberties.

On January 14, CAC joined the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, and the American Constitution Society, in co-sponsoring The Road from Lincoln to Obama: the Constitution and the New Birth of Freedom. This panel, held at the National Press Club, featured leading historians, constitutional law experts, and civil rights leaders discussing how the “new birth of freedom” took form in the Civil War Amendments, how those Amendments have been interpreted (and in some cases misinterpreted) since their ratification, and how their promise can be better fulfilled today. You can watch remarks from CAC’s Founder and President, Doug Kendall, who was a member of the panel above.

Watch the full panel here.