In an 1873 decision, the Supreme Court by a 5–4 vote—highly unusual in those days—upheld a bribery-procured Louisiana slaughterhouse monopoly that had been challenged by a group of butchers whose businesses were jeopardized. By that decision, called The Slaughter-House Cases, one of the most important and beneficial products of the Civil War—a revolutionary constitutional provision intended to protect civil rights against oppression by state governments—was nullified. The repercussions of that unfortunate decision are still being felt today.
In Death Grip: Loosening the Law’s Stranglehold Over Economic Liberty, Clint Bolick looks at the state of economic liberty in our country today and explains how the consequences of Slaughter-House continue to manifest themselves to this day. Bolick examines the history and intent of the 14th Amendment and the judicial nullification of the privileges or immunities clause in the Slaughter-House Cases and their aftermath through the years. Looking at more recent decisions, he sees hope in the current campaign to restore economic liberty as a fundamental civil right. Armed with knowledge, passion, and commitment to principle, he concludes, we can win the battle to restore economic liberty once and for all.
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