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Thursday, May 05, 2022

Ex-Confederates Interpreting the Fourteenth Amendment

Going back to Aristotle, there was the idea that there are different types of persuasive arguments. One is an appeal to personal authority. Person X was a great judge, scholar, leader, etc and thus her conclusion about a subject is entitled to great respect. This is the opposite of an ad hominem argument, where you say that Person X was terrible and thus you should disregard what she says. Neither of these focus on Person X's reasoning.

Here's a question along these lines: Can a former Confederate be a good source of personal authority for the interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment? I would say no. No matter how great a legal career was before or after that, the very act of being a Confederate makes any conclusions about the Fourteenth Amendment suspect. (Unless you're talking about the rare Confederate who turned around and supported the 14th).

A former Confederate's reasoning about the Fourteenth Amendment should be assessed on its own merits.


Posted by Gerard Magliocca on May 5, 2022 at 04:10 PM | Permalink


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