Freedom’s Conscience


In his masterful work, Women, Gays, and the Constitution, David Richards proposes a moral interpretation of the nineteenth century Reconstruction Amendments. This reading is inspired by “abolitionist” feminism, Richards’ name for the philosophy developed by men and women who extended their opposition to slavery into a fight against all forms of racismthen existing. Beginning with these feminists, Richards develops an original interpretive methodology. This methodology enables Richards to argue that the stance of the abolitionist outsider provides a moral viewpoint from which to criticize the irrationality and unreasonableness of our basic institutions. The moral viewpoint of this re-centered outsider also allows a legal interpretation of the Reconstruction Amendments expansive enough to fully protect the fundamental rights of women, lesbians, and gay men.

Suggested Reading

Panel I: Defund Means Defund Andrea Ritchie (she/her) is a Black lesbian immigrant whose writing, litigation, and advocacy has focused on policing of women and LGBT people of color for the past two decades. She is currently a researcher with