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Constitution Read-Aloud Critical Readings


These readings are provided as a supplement to the UW Libraries Constitution Read-Aloud. For more information, see the event page.

First Amendment

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.


Justin Hansford, The First Amendment Freedom of Assembly as a Racial Project, 127 Yale L.J. 685 (2018)

John R. Vile, Native Americans, The First Amendment Encyclopedia

Solomon Furious & Len Niehoff, Race and the First Amendment: A Compendium of Resources, American Bar Association (Jan 22, 2021)

Fourth Amendment

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.


April J. Anderson, Racial Profiling: Constitutional and Statutory Considerations for Congress, Congressional Research Service, IF11756 (Feb. 5, 2021)

Hillel R. Smith & Kelsey Y. Santamaria, Searches and Seizures at the Border and the Fourth Amendment, Congressional Research Service, R46601 (2021)

Mary N. Beall, Gutting the Fourth Amendment: Judicial Complicity in Racial Profiling and the Real-Life Implications, 36 Law & Ineq. (2018)

Fifth Amendment

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.


Ji Seon Song, Policing the Emergency Room, 136 Harv. L. Rev. 2646 (2021)

Matthew L.M. Fletcher, On Indian Children and the Fifth Amendment, 80 Mont. L. Rev. 99 (2019)

Sixth Amendment

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.


Alana Paris, An Unfair Cross Section: Federal Jurisdiction for Indian Country Crimes Dismantles Jury Community Conscience, 16 N.W. J. L. & Soc. Poll'y 92 (2020)

Shaun Ossei-Owusu, The Sixth Amendment Facade: The Racial Evolution of the Right to Counsel, 167 U. Penn. L. Rev. 1161 (2019)

Eighth Amendment

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.


Kathryn E. Miller, The Eighth Amendment Power to Discriminate, 95 Wash. L. Rev. 809 (2020)

Christopher Hill, Disabilities on Death Row: The ADA, Abelism, and Alternatives to the Eighth Amendment, 8 Lincoln Mem'l U.L. Rev. 14 (2021)

Thirteenth Amendment

Section 1 - Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Section 2 - Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.


Brandon Hasbrouck, Abolishing Racist Policing With the Thirteenth Amendment, UCLA L. Rev. (2020)

Mehmet K. Konar-Steenberg, Root and Branch: The Thirteenth Amendment and Environmental Justice, 19 Nev. L.J. 209 (2019)

Fourteenth Amendment

Citizenship Rights, Equal Protection, Apportionment, Civil War Debt (full text here)


Jennifer Rae Taylor, Race, Voting, and a Gaping Loophole: A Critical Look at the 14th Amendment, Equal Justice Initiative (2018)

Emily Chiang, The New Racial Justice: Moving Beyond the Equal Protection Clause to Achieve Equal Protection, 41 Fla. St. U. L. Rev. 835 (2014)

Fifteenth Amendment

Section 1 - The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

Section 2 - The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.


Alex Cohen & Wilfred U. Codrington III, The Promise and Pitfalls of the 15th Amendment Over 150 Years, Brennan Center for Justice (Feb. 3, 2020)

Securing Indian Voting Rights, 129 Harv. L. Rev. 1731 (2016)

Nineteenth Amendment

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.


Reva B. Siegel, The Nineteenth Amendment and the Democratization of the Family, 129 Yale L.J. (2020)

Serena Mayeri, After Suffrage: The Unfinished Business of Feminist Legal Advocacy, 129 Yale L.J. (2020)