“Newspapers and the Fourteenth Amendment: What Did the American Public Know About Section 1?”

George Thomas is a terrific and unusually fair-minded professor of criminal procedure at Rutgers Law School in Newark, NJ. I noticed today that he has a forthcoming article that tries to get a sense of the original public understanding of the Privileges or Immunities clause based on how the debates were covered in newspapers of the day: “Newspapers and the Fourteenth Amendment: What Did the American Public Know About Section 1?” As Thomas admits up front, the essay is not the last word on the original public understanding. And I’m not enough of an expert in the history myself to know whether Thomas’s own judgement calls (which he states clearly) are correct. Nonetheless, I found the article helpful as a way to make sense of the conflicting historical claims.