Saturday, September 20, 2008

Frederick Douglas and the Constitution
Frederick Douglass, the escaped former slave, self-taught author and editor, and leading abolitionist orator, thought not. "Take the Constitution according to its plain reading," he challenged the Rochester Ladies Anti-Slavery Society on July 5, 1852, in Rochester, New York. "I defy the presentation of a single pro-slavery clause in it." In fact, Douglass told the crowd gathered to hear his Independence Day address, "Interpreted as it ought to be interpreted, the Constitution is a glorious liberty document."

Proponents of reparations for descendants of slaves might want to consider Frederick Douglas' argument that slavery was always unconstitutional. Building a case around this argument would be a hard case to summarily dismiss. Also, if Antonin Scalia holds true to his philosophical beliefs, he would be obligated to side with the proponents of such an argument.