Volume 170

Essays

Constitution of the United States. -
Ours is a racist Constitution. Despite its soaring language, it was founded on slavery and a commitment to racial inequality. This vision is etched in the constitutional text, from the notorious Three-Fifths Clause to the equally repugnant Fugitive Slave Clause. And despite the Civil War and the Reconstruction Amendments, the Constitution retains these vestiges of slavery in its fabric. After 230 years, it is time to remove these troubling provisions from the Constitution. This Essay offers a radical departure from prior constitutional practice. Instead of appending yet another amendment that would simply require readers to ignore the offending language, this Essay proposes a constitutional amendment that excises these words from the text. While this amendment would not abridge, enlarge, or modify any substantive rights, it would generate a document that further distances the United States from its racist past and better reflects this present moment in the journey to form a more perfect Union.
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