Congressional Authority to Interpret the Thirteenth Amendment: A Response to Professor Tsesis

Jennifer Mason McAward, Notre Dame Law School


This essay explores the proper scope of Congress’s power to enforce the Thirteenth Amendment’s prohibition on slavery and involuntary servitude. It reviews the historical context surrounding the drafting of the Thirteenth Amendment enforcement power, and it points to structural constitutional considerations relevant to the understanding of that power. It concludes by suggesting some related topics that deserve further exploration.