Constitutional Law II

Congressional Enforcement Powers

The Thirteenth Amendment outlaws slavery. The Fourteenth Amendment just addresses state action, not private discrimination.

Discrimination in public accommodations is not a badge or incident of slavery, but discrimination in housing sales is.

The Thirteenth Amendment is interpreted by Congress now, not the courts. The Fourteenth is interpreted by the courts.

However, Congress can regulate private acts under the Commerce Clause.

The Fourteenth Amendment is self-executing in some areas, such as the exclusion of evidence; but Congress can also provide remedies, such as providing monetary for violations.

Under the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, Congress can punish states that have historically discriminated and outlaw their constitutional laws (like literacy tests for voting) as a preventative measure to prevent them from going farther and actually unconstitutionally discriminating.

Congress cannot revoke sovereign immunity under the Commerce Clause, but it can under the Fourteenth Amendment if the state violates the Constitution or has a history of violations and the law satisfies proportionality and congruity.