Whose Privileges? What Immunity? A Symposium for the Sesquicentennial of The Slaughter-House Cases

Sep 16, 2023, 9:30 am12:30 pm
Bowen Hall 222 - 70 Prospect Avenue, Princeton, New Jersey 08540



Event Description

This year marks the 150th anniversary of one of the most influential decisions ever handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court, in The Slaughter-House Cases. Slaughter-House has shaped federal-state jurisprudence for the last century-and-a-half. Join us for a half-day symposium to examine the influence and legacy of Slaughter-House and to work towards a better understanding of how these cases have swayed the application of the Reconstruction Amendments.


Talk 1: Pamela Brandwein, "The Slaughter-House Dissents and the Reconstruction of American Liberalism"


Talk 2: Mark A. Graber, "The Slaughter-House Cases and the Rise of the Fourteenth Amendment, Section One"


Talk 3: Kurt T. Lash, "Defending Slaughterhouse: Miller’s Opinion and Bingham’s Amendment"


Parking: We recommend parking for free in Prospect Avenue Garage, near Bowen Hall. No parking permit is required on weekends.

(Princeton University Visitor Parking Policy)


Pamela Brandwein is Professor of Political Science and Professor of Law (by courtesy) at the University of Michigan. She is a specialist in the law and politics of Reconstruction and her research interests include American constitutional politics; law, language, and institutions; and American political development. She is the author of numerous articles and two books, Reconstructing Reconstruction: The Supreme Court and the Production of Historical Truth (Duke University Press, 1999) and Rethinking the Judicial Settlement of Reconstruction (Cambridge University Press, 2011), the latter of which revises conventional wisdom about the Supreme Court’s “state action” decisions of the 1870s and 1880s. She has a forthcoming article in the American Political Science Review, “The Slaughter-House Dissents and the Reconstruction of American Liberalism.”

Mark A. Graber is the Regents Professor at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law.  Determined to vex his parents by becoming a permanent student, he earned an AB from Dartmouth College, a JD from Columbia Law School, an MA in Philosophy from Yale University, and a PhD in Political Science from Yale University before being forced by his spouse and two (soon three) infant children to earn a living.  Professor Graber has published numerous books, articles, and essays on constitutional law, constitutional development, constitutional theory, constitutional politics, and pretty much any other matter in which "constitutional" is used as an adjective.  His most recent book is Punish Treason, Reward Loyalty: The Forgotten Goals of Constitutional Reform after the Civil War.  In response to absolutely no demand for a sequel, he is presently finishing up Making the Thirteenth Amendment Work, another study highlighting the limited place of Section One of the Fourteenth Amendment in postbellum Republican thought.

Kurt Lash is the E. Claiborne Robins Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Richmond, and the author of The Fourteenth Amendment and the Privileges or Immunities of American Citizenship in 2014, and the editor of the mammoth two-volume anthology of The Reconstruction Amendments: Essential Documents in 2021. His current project is A Troubled Birth of Freedom: The Struggle to Amend the Constitution in the Aftermath of the Civil War.

  • Co-sponsored by the Princeton University Department of Politics
  • Funded by the Bouton Law Lecture Fund


Lecture Series
James Madison Program Initiative on Politics and Statesmanship