The Dignity of the South

123 Yale Law Journal Online 175 (2013)

U of Texas Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 518

22 Pages Posted: 2 May 2013 Last revised: 15 Jul 2013

Joseph Fishkin

University of Texas School of Law

Date Written: June 8, 2013

Abstract

The plaintiffs in Shelby County v. Holder argue that section 5 of the Voting Rights Act should be struck down because it offends the “equal dignity" of the covered states — an argument the Court appeared to credit in its last brush with section 5 in NAMUDNO. This Essay, written in advance of the decision in Shelby County, critically examines this equal dignity of the states argument and situates it in a larger context. Americans have been fighting for 150 years, since the Civil War and Reconstruction, about the structural implications of the events of 1861-70 for the sovereignty, dignity, and equality of the states — especially the Southern states. The implications of adopting the ““equal dignity”” of the covered states as a constraint on Congress’’s Reconstruction Power are deeply problematic and profound.

Keywords: Voting Rights Act, Election Law, Dignity, State Dignity, Equal Dignity, Federalism, Reconstruction, Reconstruction Amendments, Civil War

Suggested Citation

Fishkin, Joseph, The Dignity of the South (June 8, 2013). 123 Yale Law Journal Online 175 (2013); U of Texas Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 518. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2258789

Joseph Fishkin (Contact Author)

University of Texas School of Law ( email )

727 East Dean Keeton Street
Austin, TX 78705
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.utexas.edu/law/faculty/profile.php?id=jrf84

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