Allow Me to Transform: A Black Guy’s Guide to a New Constitution

25 Pages Posted: 29 Apr 2022

See all articles by Brandon Hasbrouck

Brandon Hasbrouck

Washington and Lee University - School of Law

Date Written: May 2023


In this must-read book, Elie Mystal brings his characteristic wit and insight to the task of creating a lay overview of constitutional law. Mystal is unrelenting in exposing the historical and logical flaws of conservative constitutional arguments, particularly those of bad-faith originalism. But beyond just helping readers identify constitutional law in their daily lives and discuss it intelligently, Allow Me to Retort provides a guide for Black men and other marginalized groups to use the Constitution and survive their encounters with it. In doing so, Mystal raises questions about how constitutional law could be more just—whether by reevaluating the Constitution’s commitment to liberty and equality or by starting over with a new, more inclusive one. This Essay addresses those questions by exploring both options and breaking with legal orthodoxy by acknowledging that our 18th-Century Constitution should be understood as the regimen of our barbarous ancestors.

Keywords: Elie Mystal, Allow me to retort, black guy's guide to the constitution, African-American, race, constitutional law

Suggested Citation

Hasbrouck, Brandon, Allow Me to Transform: A Black Guy’s Guide to a New Constitution (May 2023). 121 Michigan Law Review, April 2023 Forthcoming , Available at SSRN: or

Brandon Hasbrouck (Contact Author)

Washington and Lee University - School of Law ( email )

Lexington, VA 24450
United States

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