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APB Speaker Deborah Archer Writes Essay for "The New York Times" on the 13th Amendment

13 Aug 2021

APB Speaker Deborah Archer Writes Essay for "The New York Times" on the 13th Amendment

An essay by APB speaker Deborah Archer, president of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Professor at N.Y.U. School of Law, was recently featured in the Opinion section of The New York Times. The newspaper asked seven writers and legal scholars what they believe should be updated in the Constitution. It’s been a half-century since America’s last real revision. According to The Times, the essays are part of a series exploring bold ideas to revitalize and renew the American experiment.

Besides Archer, the article features Kate Andrias, a professor at Columbia Law School; Alexandra DeSanctis, a staff writer at National Review and a visiting fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center; Samuel Moyn, a professor of law and history at Yale; Cindy Cohn, the executive director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation; Barry P. McDonald, a law professor at Pepperdine University; and David Schleicher, a professor at Yale Law School.

Archer’s essay focused on the 13th Amendment, which outlaws slavery with one exception — as a punishment for a crime. Archer argues that beyond the importance of making the prohibition of slavery complete and unequivocal, striking the 13th Amendment’s punishment clause would have practical consequences for compulsory prison labor, eliminate a powerful incentive to criminalize Black and Brown people and advance the cause of racial and economic justice promised by the amendment, the article says.

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Archer is the eighth president of the ACLU and the first person of color to lead the organization. She is a leading civil rights and civil liberties advocate, civil rights lawyer, professor, writer and commentator. Previously, she was an attorney with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the ACLU, where she litigated in the areas of voting rights, employment discrimination and school desegregation. 

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