What's Different About the Thirteenth Amendment, and Why Does It Matter?

14 Pages Posted: 12 Sep 2012 Last revised: 13 Sep 2012

Date Written: December 1, 2011


This symposium contribution discusses four basic features of the Thirteenth Amendment that appear both to be unique and to raise important interpretive issues. Because they are unique, they call for interpretive judgments of unfamiliar and difficult kinds. In addition, the essay considers three purported features that have been described as unique in the past, but that appear illusory upon reflection. If the current surge of scholarly interest in the Amendment is to have any impact on the case law, questions connected to each of these seven features will likely contribute importantly to its shaping.

Keywords: Thirteenth Amendment, Constitutional Law, Constitutional Interpretation, Individual Rights, Slavery, Involuntary Servitude

Suggested Citation

Pope, James Gray, What's Different About the Thirteenth Amendment, and Why Does It Matter? (December 1, 2011). Maryland Law Review, Vol. 71, pp. 189-202, 2011, Rutgers School of Law-Newark Research Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1894965 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1894965

James Gray Pope (Contact Author)

Rutgers Law School ( email )

Newark, NJ
United States
973-744-3642 (Phone)
973-353-1445 (Fax)

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