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Getting the 14th Amendment Right

March 3, 2010
Damon W. Root

Consider this: Among the legal experts lining up in support of overturning Slaughterhouse and reviving the Privileges or Immunities Clause is liberal law professor Akhil Amar of Yale University. Nobody’s idea of a gun nut, Amar is a supporter of progressive politics. And in his opinion, so were the authors of the Privileges or Immunities Clause. “The framers of the 14th Amendment were radical redistributionists,” Amar told The Wall Street Journal. “The 13th Amendment frees the slaves and there’s no compensation. It’s the biggest redistribution of property in history.” Under this interpretation, the privileges or immunities of citizenship might include the right to health care, to a living wage, or to some other welfare right fancied by today’s progressive activists.

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