Is the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Act in Part Unconstitutional?

Civil Rights Practice Group Teleforum
Start : Thursday, March 20, 2014 03:00 PM
End : Thursday, March 20, 2014 04:00 PM

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Federalist Society Teleforum Conference Call

Featured Speakers:
Jennifer Mason McAward
Gail Heriot


Congress premised the part of the Hate Crimes Prevention Act banning crimes based on race on Congress's Thirteenth Amendment power to end slavery and involuntary servitude. (Another part of the Act, which addressed crimes committed on the basis of other biases, was passed pursuant to Congress's Commerce Clause power.) But with slavery long dead, some argue that the connection between it and contemporary hate crimes is at best distant. Does the Thirteenth Amendment give Congress the power to reach race-based hate crimes and other social ills arguably related to slavery? This issue will be before the U.S. Supreme Court in a petition for certiorari in Hatch v. United States, which the Court is scheduled to consider on March 21. In this call, Professor Jennifer McAward of Notre Dame will discuss the scope of Congress's power to pass legislation pursuant to the Thirteenth Amendment and the pending cert petition - will it be granted? Should it be granted? Additional comments will be made by Professor Gail Heriot of the University of San Diego School of Law.


  • Prof. Jennifer Mason McAward, Associate Professor of Law, Notre Dame Law School
  • Hon. Gail Heriot, Professor of Law, San Diego School of Law

Call begins at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

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