Lecture: "Integrity, Equality, and the Fragility of the Right to Vote: A Talk for Constitution Day 2018"

Atiba R. Ellis, professor of law from Marquette University Law School, will present this talk.

At the heart of the modern battles over the American constitutional right to vote is a longstanding tension. On one side is the original Constitution and the autonomy it grants the states over the franchise. Historically, this autonomy has been used to maintain versions of a social order based on eighteenth-century notions of class, status, and identity. On the other are the Reconstruction Amendments and the modern demands for equality, which have generated an anti-caste, antidiscrimination framework broadly—and has been used to liberalize the right to vote in particular. Thus, these two values—autonomy and equality—end up in tension when it comes to constitutional, policy-driven, and ideological considerations of the scope of the right to vote. This talk with will offer perspectives on this competition of values and describe how those tensions play out in the modern-day voter suppression debates.

Acknowledgements: Office of Student Financial Services, the Center for Intercultural & Civic Engagement, Seth Weinberger, and the Department of Politics & Government. This event is made possible by the Jack Miller Center through a grant from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust.

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