Professor Michael Zuckert's Constitution Day Lecture


On September 17th, 2014, Michael Zuckert, Nancy Reeves Dreux Professor of Political Science at University of Notre Dame, delivered the Kinder Forum’s inaugural Constitution Day lecture at Tate Hall on the University of Missouri campus in Columbia. Professor Zuckert examined the history and meaning of the dynamic 14th Amendment in his talk, arguing that it completed the Constitution by presenting a solution to the problem of majority tyranny that James Madison anticipated in 1787 and that came to bear in the form of the rights-denying Black Codes that were passed in the Reconstruction South. Tracing the legislative spirit of the 14th Amendment back to Madison’s model of corrective federalism, Prof. Zuckert offered close readings of the initial and final drafts of the amendment to demonstrate how it ensured equal protection of individuals’ natural and constitutional rights by adopting language that both prohibited states from abridging these rights and granted Congress the power to intervene in order to enforce the terms of prohibition. A Q&A session and reception at the Tiger Club Bistro followed the lecture, with students and faculty continuing the discussion of the widely-cited, yet often misunderstood, constitutional amendment.

Video of Prof. Zuckert’s lecture can be found here (Part 1) and here (Part 2).