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Professor Brandon Hasbrouck Proposes a Legislative Fix for Discriminatory Policing

Washington and Lee Law Professor Brandon Hasbrouck has published an editorial for Slate, suggesting how Congress could take steps based in constitutional jurisprudence to curb racial discrimination in law enforcement.

In his June 5 article, “The 13th Amendment Could End Racist Policing,” Hasbrouck argues that, in the wake of the George Floyd tragedy, Congress has the opportunity to take bold action to transform policing and promote racial justice. The federal legislation would take effect nationwide, applying the U.S. Supreme Court’s “Civil Rights Cases” rulings on the anti-slavery amendment in a new way.

“The racist roots of formal policing in America, in both the North and the South, make the case that the 13th Amendment applies,” Hasbrouck writes. “Congress has invoked the 13th Amendment many times before, notably when criminalizing hate crimes and ending racial discrimination in property sales. If Black lives actually matter, then Congress must look to the 13th Amendment to implement radical changes to policing.”

Read Hasbrouck’s entire piece at

Brandon Hasbrouck is an assistant professor at W&L Law, where his teaching and research focus on criminal law and procedure, constitutional law, federal courts, and appellate advocacy. His recent scholarship includes “Saving Justice: Why Sentencing Errors Fall Within the Savings Clause, 28 U.S.C. ยง 2255(e),” published in the Georgetown Law Journal.

Posted in Hasbrouck, Brandon, Opinions & Editorials

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