Reconstruction, civil rights


Two little known clauses of a Reconstruction-era civil rights statute are potentially powerful weapons for litigators seeking to protect the integrity of federal elections. For the clauses to achieve their potential, however, the courts will need to settle correctly a contested question of statutory interpretation: do the clauses create substantive rights, or do they merely create remedies for substantive rights specified elsewhere? The correct answer is that the clauses create substantive rights.

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