Constitution of the United States/Art. IV/Sec. 2/Clause 3 Slavery

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Constitutional Law Treatise
Table of Contents
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Constitutional Law Outline
Introduction
The Preamble
Article I Legislative Branch
Art. I, Section 1 Legislative Vesting Clause
Art. I, Section 2 House of Representatives
Art. I, Section 3 Senate
Art. I, Section 4 Congress
Art. I, Section 5 Proceedings
Art. I, Section 6 Rights and Disabilities
Art. I, Section 7 Legislation
Art. I, Section 8 Enumerated Powers
Art. I, Section 9 Powers Denied Congress
Art. I, Section 10 Powers Denied States
Article II Executive Branch
Art. II, Section 1 Function and Selection
Art. II, Section 2 Powers
Art. II, Section 3 Duties
Art. II, Section 4 Impeachment
Article III Judicial Branch
Art. III, Section 1 Vesting Clause
Art. III, Section 2 Justiciability
Art. III, Section 3 Treason
Article IV Relationships Between the States
Art. IV, Section 1 Full Faith and Credit Clause
Art. IV, Section 2 Interstate Comity
Art. IV, Section 3 New States and Federal Property
Art. IV, Section 4 Republican Form of Government
Article V Amending the Constitution
Article VI Supreme Law
Article VII Ratification
First Amendment: Fundamental Freedoms
Religion
Establishment Clause
Free Exercise Clause
Free Speech Clause
Freedom of Association
Second Amendment: Right to Bear Arms
Third Amendment: Quartering Soldiers
Fourth Amendment: Searches and Seizures
Fifth Amendment: Rights of Persons
Sixth Amendment: Rights in Criminal Prosecutions
Seventh Amendment: Civil Trial Rights
Eighth Amendment: Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Ninth Amendment: Unenumerated Rights
Tenth Amendment: Rights Reserved to the States and the People
Eleventh Amendment: Suits Against States
Twelfth Amendment: Election of President
Thirteenth Amendment: Abolition of Slavery
Thirteenth Amend., Section 1 Prohibition on Slavery and Involuntary Servitude
Thirteenth Amend., Section 2 Enforcement
Fourteenth Amendment: Equal Protection and Other Rights
Fourteenth Amend., Section 1 Rights
Fourteenth Amend., Section 2 Apportionment of Representation
Fourteenth Amend., Section 3 Disqualification from Holding Office
Fourteenth Amend., Section 4 Public Debt
Fourteenth Amend., Section 5 Enforcement
Fifteenth Amendment: Right of Citizens to Vote
Fifteenth Amend., Section 1 Right to Vote
Fifteenth Amend., Section 2 Enforcement
Sixteenth Amendment: Income Tax
Seventeenth Amendment: Popular Election of Senators
Eighteenth Amendment: Prohibition of Liquor
Eighteenth Amend., Section 1 Prohibition
Eighteenth Amend., Section 2 Enforcement of Prohibition
Eighteenth Amend., Section 3 Ratification Deadline
Nineteenth Amendment: Women's Suffrage
Twentieth Amendment: Presidential Term and Succession
Twentieth Amend., Section 1 Terms
Twentieth Amend., Section 2 Meetings of Congress
Twentieth Amend., Section 3 Succession
Twentieth Amend., Section 4 Congress and Presidential Succession
Twentieth Amend., Section 5 Effective Date
Twentieth Amend., Section 6 Ratification
Twenty-First Amendment: Repeal of Prohibition
Twenty-First Amend., Section 1 Repeal of Eighteenth Amendment
Twenty-First Amend., Section 2 Importation, Transportation, and Sale of Liquor
Twenty-First Amend., Section 3 Ratification Deadline
Twenty-Second Amendment: Presidential Term Limits
Twenty-Second Amend., Section 1 Limit
Twenty-Second Amend., Section 2 Ratification Deadline
Twenty-Third Amendment: District of Columbia Electors
Twenty-Third Amend., Section 1 Electors
Twenty-Third Amend., Section 2 Enforcement
Twenty-Fourth Amendment: Abolition of Poll Tax
Twenty-Fourth Amend., Section 1 Poll Tax
Twenty-Fourth Amend., Section 2 Enforcement
Twenty-Fifth Amendment: Presidential Vacancy
Twenty-Fifth Amend., Section 1 Presidential Vacancy
Twenty-Fifth Amend., Section 2 Vice President Vacancy
Twenty-Fifth Amend., Section 3 Declaration by President
Twenty-Fifth Amend., Section 4 Declaration by Vice President and Others
Twenty-Sixth Amendment: Reduction of Voting Age
Twenty-Sixth Amend., Section 1 Eighteen Years of Age
Twenty-Sixth Amend., Section 2 Enforcement
Twenty-Seventh Amendment: Congressional Compensation

Article IV Relationships Between the States

Section 2 Interstate Comity

Clause 3 Slavery

Clause Text
No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.

Fugitive Slave Clause[edit | edit source]

This Clause, effectively nullified by the Thirteenth Amendment's abolition of slavery,[1] contemplated the existence of a right on the part of a slaveholder to reclaim an enslaved person who had escaped to another state.[2] Following the debate on the constitutional provision requiring states to return felons who had fled from one state to another,[3] Pierce Butler and Charles Pinckney of South Carolina moved "to require fugitive slaves and servants to be delivered up like criminals."[4] Although James Wilson and Roger Sherman objected that this "would oblige the executive of the State to [seize fugitive slaves], at the public expense," the provision was approved by the Convention unanimously without further debate.[5]

Congress had the power to enact legislation enforcing the Clause,[6] which it first did in 1793.[7] Under the Supreme Court's interpretation of the Fugitive Slave Clause, the owner of an enslaved person had the same right to seize and repossess him in another state as the local laws of his own state granted to him, and state laws that penalized such a seizure were unconstitutional.[8] Moreover, states had no concurrent power to legislate on the subject.[9] However, a state statute providing a penalty for harboring an escaped slave was held not to conflict with the Clause because it did not affect the right or remedy of the slaveholder, but rather a rule of conduct for its own citizens in the exercise of states' police power.[10]

  1. Thirteenth Amendment Abolition of Slavery.
  2. See 3 Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States §§ 1804-1805 (1833).
  3. Art. IV, Sec. 2, Clause 2 Interstate Extradition.
  4. 2 Max Farrand, Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, at 443 (Max Farrand, ed. 1911).
  5. Id. at 446. Although the Articles of Confederation lacked an analogous provision, see 3 Story's Commentaries, supra note here, at § 1805, the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, even as it abolished slavery in the Territory, provided for the return of fugitive slaves who escaped there. See Ordinance of 1787 art. VI ("Provided, always, That any person escaping into the [territory], from whom labor or service is lawfully claimed in any one of the original States, such fugitive may be lawfully reclaimed and conveyed to the person claiming his or her labor or service as aforesaid.").
  6. Jones v. Van Zandt, 46 U.S. (5 How.) 215, 229 (1847).
  7. 1 Stat. 302 (1793). The enforcement provisions of Fugitive Slave Act of 1793 were strengthened as part of the Compromise of 1850. See 9 Stat. 462 (1850).
  8. Prigg v. Pennsylvania, 41 U.S. (16 Pet.) 539, 612 (1842); Ableman v. Booth, 62 U.S. (21 How.) 506 (1859).
  9. Prigg, 41 U.S. at 625.
  10. Moore v. Illinois, 55 U.S. (14 How.) 13, 17 (1853).