• National Constitution Center Podcast: The Legacy of the 13th Amendment

    Tom Donnelly, Message Director and Counsel at Constitutional Accountability Center, joins Jamal Greene, Vice Dean and Professor of Law at Columbia Law School, and Randy Barnett, the Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Legal Theory at the Georgetown University Law Center, for a discussion on the history, meaning, and legacy of the Thirteenth Amendment, moderated by National Constitution Center president and CEO Jeffrey Rosen.

    Listen to the podcast here.

  • American Revolution 2.0

    In the Gettysburg Address, Abraham Lincoln called for “a new birth of freedom.” He wanted the freedoms defined in the Declaration of Independence extended to all Americans, including ex-slaves. In the last speech of his life, to a crowd on the White House lawn celebrating Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, Lincoln specifically addressed the right to vote, saying that he hoped blacks who were veterans and “very intelligent” might enjoy the franchise in Louisiana. John Wilkes Booth, who was in Lincoln’s audience, promised to kill him, which he did four days later. Read more…


  • The GOP’s Birthright Citizenship Flip-Flop

    Birthright citizenship has split the GOP presidential field. Following Donald Trump’s call for an end to birthright citizenship for the U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants, fellow Republican presidential hopefuls Bobby Jindal, Rand Paul, Rick Santorum, Ben Carson and even longtime immigration reform advocate Lindsey Graham have said they support ending the practice. Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush have been the most vocally opposed. Read more…

  • A Tale of Two Johnsons (and What It Means for Voting Rights)

    On September 16, activists from around the country will converge on the Washington Monument to rally in support of, among other things, the embattled right to vote. They will have come 860 weary miles in six weeks—all the way from the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. That bridge, where Alabama State Police savagely beat black and white marchers in 1965, was the birthplace of the Voting Rights Act and the political revolution it sparked around the South. Read more…

  • The Fourteenth Amendment’s Guarantee of Birthright Citizenship

    The arguments against the constitutional guarantee of birthright citizenship put forth by Donald Trump and other conservatives are, to borrow a descriptor oft-used by Trump himself, losers. Literally. Far from offering a bold new immigration reform plan that would “make America great again,” Trump’s plan recycles anti-immigrant ideas that were resoundingly defeated 150 years ago. In the process, he foolishly rejects values that are part of what makes America great in the first place. Read more…

  • Celebrating one of the Voting Rights Act’s many anniversaries

    On August 6, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law, calling it “one of the most monumental laws in the entire history of American freedom.” The ensuing 50 years have proven President Johnson right and vindicated the long struggle of the civil rights activists who fought for its passage. Although voting discrimination still remains all too common, the VRA’s tools to end racial discrimination in voting have nonetheless played a critical role in bringing our nation ever closer to achieving the national ideal of equality under the law. Read more

  • U.S. Senate Unanimously Recognizes America’s Second Founding

    Washington, DC – In bi-partisan recognition of the fundamental importance of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution adopted in the wake of the Civil War, yesterday the U.S. Senate adopted S. Res. 198 by unanimous consent, commemorating the 150th anniversaries of these transformational Amendments and designating the year 2015 as the “Sesquicentennial of Our Nation’s Second Founding.” These Amendments ended slavery, protected fundamental rights from state abuses, promised equality, and guaranteed the right vote free of racial discrimination. Read More

  • Senate Resolution Celebrating Second Founding Is Just the Beginning

    Last week, in a remarkable act of bipartisan statesmanship, Senator Patrick Leahy and Senator Mike Lee joined together to guide the U.S.A. Freedom Act (a trimmed down version of the so-called Patriot Act) to passage over the objection of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. This strange bedfellows pairing continued last night with the unanimous passage of a Senate Resolution celebrating the ratification of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, which collectively constitute our nation’s Second Founding. Read More…

  • New York Times continues the dialogue on Reconstruction

    As the five-year celebration of our Nation’s Second Founding continues, we here at CAC look forward to highlighting the writings of those working to keep our Nation’s post-Civil War history a part of the public dialogue.

    Last week, the New York Times dedicated its Room for Debate feature to the question, “How should Americans remember Reconstruction?” Read More

  • How One of the Most Important Edits in U.S. History Paved the Way for Marriage Equality

    Next Tuesday, April 28, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Obergefell v. Hodges, a blockbuster case addressing the issue of marriage equality. If the Supreme Court ultimately strikes down state laws prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying—as many commentators expect and as the Constitution commands—this date will surely go down as a milestone in LGBTQ rights history. But April 28 is already a critical date for the LGBTQ community—a forgotten anniversary, starring one of the most important Americans you’ve probably never heard of. Read More