Georgetown Law Professor Rosa Brooks: The Problem is the Constitution Which Enslaves Us

Georgetown University Law School Professor Rosa Brooks has drawn accolades and criticism for her appearance on MSNBC’s “The ReidOut” after declaring that Americans are “slaves” to the U.S. Constitution and that the Constitution itself is now the problem for the country.

Brooks was criticizing gun rights generally and, by extension, the Second Amendment decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen: 

“I was thinking, boy, those sounds are like the sounds you hear in war zones. And there are people all over the world who have lived during armed conflicts, and when does the mortar fall on your house, when does the soldier or the tank come down the street and just kill you. We are now living in that world, too, and we have brought it on ourselves. We can’t say, oops, it’s the Russians’ fault. They shouldn’t have invaded us.

This is us. This is 100% us, and it’s because we are essentially slaves to a document that was written more than 230 years ago by a tiny group of white slave-owning men. And we cannot break out of the bondage that we have imposed on ourselves from feeling like we have to– everything by our Supreme Court is decided in reference to this ancient document which is just not serving us well. It is causing enormous problems and enormous tragedies at this point.”

Brooks is not alone in saying that the Constitution is the work of racists and is the source of many of our problems. CBS recently featured Boston University Professor Ibram X. Kendi, who proclaimed that the Second Amendment was little more than “the right to enslave.”

MSNBC commentator and the Nation’s Justice Correspondent Elie Mystal has called the U.S. Constitution “trash” and argued that we should ideally just dump it. Mystal, who also writes for Above the Law, previously stated that white, non-college-educated voters supported Republicans because they care about “using their guns on Black people and getting away with it.

It appears that the Constitution became the problem when a majority of justices dared to follow an opposing interpretation. That is not how a constitutional system works. You do not support it so long as it yields to your demands or views. It is a crisis of faith that I have previously discussed but it is most alarming when voiced by law professors.

Recently, I criticized fellow Georgetown Law Professor Josh Chafetz who supported more “aggressive” protests targeting justices “when the mob is right.” Such voices are common at Georgetown and other law schools. What is not common are conservative or libertarian voices including the voice of Professor Ilya Shapiro who was effectively forced off the faculty due to a controversial tweet.

As discussed earlier, the Madisonian democracy is based on the premise that, despite our factional divisions, the Constitution creates an interest in all groups in preserving the system. While the Constitution does not guarantee that your views will prevail in Congress or the courts, it has proven the most stable and successful democratic system in history.  We are all invested in that system which has achieved transformative changes over time in our laws and our society.

Professor Brooks is correct when she says that “This is us. This is 100% us.” It is about a common article of faith not with our government but with each other. These are the voices of the faithless. However, most Americans retain a faith in the Constitution. It is in our DNA precisely because it is about us and our common commitment to live by these constitutional principles that have long defined us.

302 thoughts on “Georgetown Law Professor Rosa Brooks: The Problem is the Constitution Which Enslaves Us”

  1. Again the use of Social Security numbers would Require significant changes in the law.

    There are inumerable other problems with social security numbers
    Compromises of voting records would be disasterous – and voting records are routinely hacked.

    SS#’s DO not identify you as a citizen.
    They do not provide a reliable address an therefore can not be used to validate your eligibility to vote in a given precinct.

    They are easily forgeable.

    An they are not photo-id.

    If you think SS#’s are good id why aren;’t they accepted to Travel ?

    Even the federal government will not accept SS#’s as proof of ID.

    The federal government requires that employees provide employers proof of identity and proof of eligability to work.

    SOME forms of identity meet both requirements. An SS# is NOT an accepted proof of identity only proof of eligability to work.

  2. Not an argument.

    Also Please do not misrepresent what I have said.

    I said Slavery was economically inefficient.

    That is a FACT.

    It should be an obvious fact.

    The difference between slavery and socialism is solely who owns the slave.

    Slavery fails economically for the same reasons socialism does.
    It is essentially the same thing.

    What you produce belongs to a master
    What you get for yourself is decided by a master.

    That is a scheme that is inherenly economically inefficient.

    1. John, as the nation becomes more sophisticated, the people we are talking to become dumber. Here are two examples of what people in business consider. They are for them not you.

      1) Slaves were invested capital that could not be used.
      Costs of machinery/production: A slave’s costs/production are relatively fixed. Technology reduces the numerator and increases the denominator.
      2) Economies are cyclical. Consider a man with 300 slaves to work on 300 acres. What happens when the economy has a downturn and one can only sell the product from 2 acres.
      Costs housing slaves remain the same/product to be sold fall.

      I’m not going to explain this in detail. It will likely go over the heads of the most talkative of those on the left, but one can point to countless other things some of which you have already mentioned.

      1. You and I can discuss the details, or I can debate them with someone on the left.

        Understanding the details are important – If you are trying to decide whether to make a capital investment to improve productivity.

        With respect to the larger issue of the economy – the details do not matter,

        The FACT is that the slave economy substantially under performed the free economy of the north.

        The FACT is that slavery made at most a very small contribution to the wealth of the country.

        The FACT is that the country would have done better without Slavery.

  3. Why do leftists constantly attempt to paint conservatives and Republicans with the brush of slavery? It is not intellectual paucity or even intemperate mendacity, Rather, it is a cynical attempt to inflame a sense of victimhood and estrangement among African Americans so that they will keep them voting for the Democratic Party. At this point, the Left has nothing else to offer. The Great Society and the Civil Rights Revolution failed.

  4. How were Mexico and Peru created?

    Official numbers of Indian deaths in the Indian Wars are not exact. The numbers are much lower than most people think.

    “In my Encyclopedia of Indian Wars,” writes Greg Michno, “I go over the casualties (Army, civilian and Indian; killed and wounded) in 675 fights from 1850-90. There were 21,586 total. Army and civilian totaled 6,596 (31 percent), and Indians 14,990 (69 percent). These are casualties, so deaths are more likely 30-35 percent of the total.”

    I wonder how many Indians the Indians killed in their tribal warfare.

    I’ll take America. It has been one of the best nations on earth and is responsible for saving many lives and improving the standard of living worldwide. Unfortunately, people like ATS, his pretend friends, and his lookalikes prefer leaders like Stalin, Hitler, and Mao.

    Here is one source.

    1. I haven’t seen that America lately. They certainly aren’t bettering the lives of worker in this country anymore. America is low on the totem pole of all wealthy nations in education, healthcare, livable wages, life expectancy,. We’re even higher in maternal mortality and child poverty. Still, a Catholic Supremacy took away the right that could slow down the progression of those last two.

  5. Are you posters going through despair & depression? Stop belly aching.

    Look on the bright side of life. Sure, everyone has to die soon.

  6. The Supreme Court went back 50 years to correct unconstitutional Roe.

    The Supreme Court can certainly go back another 100 years to correct Karl Marx’s unconstitutional “Reconstruction Amendments”

    …and the entirety of the Lincoln “Reign of Terror” which was illicit, illegitimate and unconstitutional from the outset through the denial of fully constitutional secession, every subsequent act being similarly unconstitutional.

  7. I am no looking to debate details. I will accept any voter ID system that verify’s the voter is eligible to vote in a given precinct, that is non-trivially forge able, and that they are who they claim they are – i.e. Photo ID.

    SS#’s do not accomplish any of this,
    Also SS#’s can not be used for additional Government ID purposes without federal legislation.

    If you think that requiring photo ID’s discriminates against Democrats then you must think democrats are complete morons.

    Getting YOUR support is not the goal – DL based voter ID has the support of 80%+ of the country even 70%+ of blacks.
    Your support is not needed.

    If you wish to make yourself continue to look stupid by fighting over it – go for it.

    Further if you use a good voter ID system – you can completely eliminate voter registration.
    That will not make either party happy, as it will create problems controlling primaries. But it will vastly simplify voting one of the most vulnerable parts of elections. Drivers license and State ID systems are well maintained. Voter Registration systems are garbage.

    Or we could keep voter registration – without Voter ID, but ONLY for primaries.

  8. Illegal deportation is as ethical, moral and legal as illegal immigration.

  9. Jonathan: Professor Brooks is stating the obvious. The Constitution was a document designed to protect slavery. But the thrust of Brooks’ statement is a criticism of the SC’s decision in the NY gun control case that prevents any local jurisdiction from regulating guns. This is already playing out in real time in yet another mass shooting in Highland Park, Ill. Robert Crimo, the shooter, has confessed and says he had other mass shootings planned when he was arrested. Crimo committed his mass carnage with an AR-15 style gun he bought legally. We don’t know much about the political beliefs of the 21 year old. However, a video posted on his YouTube page shows him among a throng of people cheering Trump’s motorcade outside an airport. Crimo is also seen draped in a Trump flag in a June 27, 2021 post on Twitter. Sorry, Jonathan, it doesn’t appear Crimo has any known connections to Antifa, Black Lives Matter, Marxists or any other liberal or leftist group. But his allegiance to Trump is clear.

    It is interesting but Highland Park banned military-style guns nearly a decade before the mass shooting this week. The ban was challenged and made its way to the SC in 2015 where the Court majority refused to hear the case: “Arie S. Friedman vs. City of Highland Park, Illinois”. The case was an appeal from a 7th Circuit ruling that said, in part: “A ban on assault weapons and large capacity magazines might not prevent shootings in Highland Park (where they are already rare), but it may reduce the carnage if a mass shooting occurs”. The 7th Circuit could not predict what would happen this week. But Scalia and Clarence Thomas should have predicted what could happen in Buffalo, Vivaldi and now in Parkland. But they dissented in the Friedman case, saying the 7th Circuit had completely misconstrued the Heller decision: “The Second Amendment extends, prima facie, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not in existence at the time of the founding”. They went on to say: “The right to keep and bear arms is an independent, individual right. It’s scope is defined not by what the militia needs, but by what private citizens commonly possess”. The 7th Circuit ruled, I think correctly, that the right to bear arms, under the 2nd Amendment, applies only to “militias” not individual citizens. While we can argue endlessly about vague biblical passages I don’t think the 2nd Amendment is ambiguous. Scalia, in the Heller and Thomas and his ideological brethren on the Court in the subsequent gun control cases have distorted the 2nd Amendment to further their preconceived views. It’s ironic that Thomas could say in his dissent in the Friedman case that “[the] overwhelming majority of citizens who own and use such rifles [AR-style semiautomatic rifles] do so for lawful purposes, including self-defense and target shooting”. Apparently, young Robert Crimo didn’t get the memo!

    But back to your column. You claim in your idyllic “Madison democracy” …”the constitution creates an interest in all groups in preserving the system”…and “it has proven the most stable and successful democratic system in history”. Really? Do you think Donald Trump was interested in “preserving the system” when he urged the Proud Boys and the other insurrectionists to storm the Capitol, kill Mike Pence and overturn an election and our democracy? Was Trump thinking about “our common commitment to live by these constitutional principles” when he tried to grab the steering wheel of his SUV? I agree that most Americans still believe in the Constitution. What they are fearful of is a SC that has gone rogue and turned its back on constitutional principles and is taking away fundamental rights they thought were protected.

    1. So we should ban cars also because they kill people also right?

      1. That’s not their purpose.

        Do you understand the difference between intended purposes and unintended side-effects?

    2. If you believe Cassidy Hutchinsons testimony about him trying to grab the steering wheel I seriously question your judgement. Please use some common sense!

      1. I do believe her. I also believe Mark Esper who wrote that Trump suggested shooting peaceful protesters in the legs before his Photo op. I wonder if that’s tyranny enough for Turkey. I suspect not.

        1. rip:
          “I do believe her. I also believe Mark Esper who wrote that Trump suggested shooting peaceful protesters in the legs before his Photo op. I wonder if that’s tyranny enough for Turkey. I suspect not.”
          Of course you believe Esper. Why wouldn’t you believe him? Oh well maybe because he never told us about this critical threat to civil liberties until two years went by and he had a book to sell. Does that give you any pause? Truth is you believe it because you want to believe it. I don’t know if its true or not because I’ve haven’t heard from the other side and any corroborating proof from others in the room.

          And I don’t believe Cassidy because she wasn’t there and the people who were there directly dispute her story.

          So while some around here find your naivete charming, I’d never want you deciding anything of importance since your critical thinking skills seem emotion-driven rather than a rational and objective view of the facts.

          1. The people who were there haven’t disputed her story under oath, and as Turley pointed out, if Ornato told her what she recounted, then her testimony was truthful, even if it turns out that Ornato’s story to her wasn’t true.

            And she was a first-person witness to most of what she testified to.

            1. And remember it was the press who hyped the story Trumped grabbed the steering wheel and attacked his secret service agent. But Ms. Hutchinson’s testimony she only said she was told he reached for the steering wheel and that Trump moved his hand towards the agent. This is why we all must scrutinize what the Press reports.

          2. We’ve yet to see Cassidy’s deniers under oath. So let’s wait and see about that. It’s easier to believe Esper because I watched footage that day of peaceful protesters being attacked for no reason. I saw footage of a young woman asking police what happens when curfew ends. She was told, and there’s footage of this, we’d like you to start dispersing at 7:00 so that by 8:00 the space will be.cleared. In a sweet voice the young woman replied okay. There was no violence at this protest until 6:30 pm when, for no apparent reason, the police began attacking the protesters. An Australian reporter on the scene and her cameraman were attacked despite their press credentials. It was all caught on film. The Aussie reporter exclaimed during the attack “This is happening in America!” Immediately after the brutal attack on protesters Trump appeared for a photo op in which he held an upside down Bible. When asked if it was his Bible, Trump replied “ It’s a Bible” so, I think it’s safe to believe Trump’s Secretary of Defense when he tells what happened prior to that event. If you don’t think so, you’re just idolater following a false preacher.




    “The problem is the Constitution which enslaves us.”

    – Rosa Brooks

    “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in [America] anymore.”

    – Dorothy Gale

    The direct and mortal enemies of the Constitution, America and Americans reveal themselves daily.

    Now you understand the rationale of the Founders for severe restrictions on immigration and strict requirements for high office.

    The Naturalization Act of 1790 required citizens to be “…free white person(s)….”

    Article 2, Section 1, requires a candidate for the office of president to be “…a natural born Citizen…,” which the legal text and reference of the era, the Law of Nations, 1758, described as having two parents who were citizens at the time of birth of the candidate and having a father who is a citizen.

    Barack Obama and Kamala Harris will never be “natural born citizens” and they will never be eligible for the office of president or vice president, per the Constitution and Law of Nations.

    Abraham Lincoln unconstitutionally and arbitrarily began the “fundamental transformation” of America at the inflection point of 1860 by first unconstitutionally denying fully constitutional secession.

    Slavery should have and must have been ended by legal and constitutional means.

    Karl Marx referred to Lincoln as the “earnest of the epoch” who would lead his country toward the “…RECONSTRUCTION of a social world.”

    The Constitution frees Americans; the Communist Manifesto enslaves its victims.

    Liberals, progressives, socialists, democrats and RINOs have endeavored mightily since 1860 to nullify and dilute the “manifest tenor” of the Constitution out of existence, as they implement the principles of Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto and the “dictatorship of the proletariat.”

    They are almost done.

    “Suppose 20 millions of republican Americans thrown all of a sudden into France, what would be the condition of that kingdom?”

    “If it would be more turbulent, less happy, less strong, we may believe that the addition of half a million of foreigners to our present numbers would produce a similar effect here.”

    – Thomas Jefferson

    “[The safety of a republic depends] essentially on the energy of a common national sentiment, on a uniformity of principles and habits, on the exemption of the citizens from foreign bias and prejudice, and on that love of country which will almost invariably be found to be closely connected with birth, education and family.”

    “The influx of foreigners must, therefore, tend to produce a heterogeneous compound; to change and corrupt the national spirit; to complicate and confound public opinion; to introduce foreign propensities. In the composition of society, the harmony of the ingredients is all-important, and whatever tends to a discordant intermixture must have an injurious tendency.”

    – Alexander Hamilton

    “[Emigrants from Scotland typically brought with them certificates from] the religious societies to which they belonged [that testified to their good character].”

    – Rufus King

    “[There is no particular need for the U.S. to encourage immigration] except of useful mechanics and some particular descriptions of men or professions.”

    “The policy or advantage of its taking place in a body (I mean the settling of them in a body) may be much questioned; for by so doing, they retain the language, habits, and principles (good or bad) which they bring with them.”

    – George Washington

    Article 2, Section 1

    No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President;…

    Naturalization Act of 1790, 1795, 1798 and 1802 (four iterations)

    United States Congress, “An act to establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization,” March 26, 1790

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That any Alien being a free white person, who shall have resided within the limits and under the jurisdiction of the United States for the term of two years, may be admitted to become a citizen thereof…

    1. Improperly and unconstitutionally ratified in an environment of, and under the extreme duress of, brutal post-war military occupation, oppression and tyranny.

      What’s wrong with this picture?

        1. So you disagree with the Constitution?

          That makes you a direct and mortal enemy of the Constitution, America and Americans.

          1. I disagree with your false claim that the 13th Amendment was “Improperly and unconstitutionally ratified.”

            Your daily displays of bigotry are more “a direct and mortal enemy of the Constitution, America and Americans” than I am.

        2. Why is it your perception that America must allow itself to be invaded and conquered?

          From a historical perspective, that’s a little odd, don’t you think?

      1. There is certainly an argument to be made that southern states ratification of Lucky 13 was at the point of bayonette. “Durress vitiates consent’ would be the theme. Not sure I’d buy it, but it’s not a preposterous position, George.

    2. Like many words, “slave” has both literal and figurative meanings.

  11. Another grand American university bites the woke dust. Georgetown U. would have to pay ME to send my kids there. I already cancelled my generous annual donation last year when I heard about this anti-American garbage going on.

    1. That’s American freedom, free enterprise, free markets and competition in action.

      The communists (liberals, progressives, socialists, democrats, RINOs) would no doubt introduce wholly unconstitutional tax incentives, rebates, executive orders as “executive overreach,” etc., etc., to unconstitutionally intercede in free enterprise and free markets, and centrally plan the future of Georgetown U. and all of free America.

      The “dictatorship of the proletariat” is illicit, illegal, antithetical and unconstitutional.

      Competition is always the solution, did I say always!

      To pay or not to pay, that is the question.

      To patronize a free enterprise or allow it to “whither on the vine.”

      You go, Thomas!

  12. George Washington’s Farewell Address provides us an important perspective that is missing from both sides of the political aisle. Alexander Hamilton wrote the GW Farewell Address. Hamilton also wrote 51 of the 85 Federalist Papers, the most important guide to understanding the US Constitution.

    Conservatives have a propensity to diminish the importance of religion, and drape themselves with vague and amorphous declarations of upright living. Leftists are more honest: they give religion the finger and proudly crucify Christ again and again. Thankfully the Founding Fathers had more integrity. They knew their proper place in the universe, knowing they were sinful and hypocritical, a disposition that most Americans would deny. Everyone thinks their opinions are right, even the parents of the Chicago assassin, Robert Crimo: his mother is an “energy healer” while his father, a Republican, is anybody’s guess. They are to blame for the actions of their son, but their attorney swears it is the blame of anyone else but his clients.

    If the drafting of the US Constitution and Federalist Papers were attempted today, not even a prayer could save them.

    Farewell Address, 19 September 1796
    President George Washington

    Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labour to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men & citizens. The mere Politician, equally with the pious man ought to respect & to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private & public felicity. Let it simply be asked where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure—reason & experience both forbid us to expect that National morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle

    1. If the drafting of the US Constitution and Federalist Papers were attempted today, not even a prayer could save them.

      Our 18th century culture was the perfect environment for establishing our constitutional republic. Now fast forward to our 21st century culture and if we had the same 56 that signed the DoI around today, they would be targeted by the alphabet soup agencies as a radical extremist group. They would be banned from social media, attacked at public gatherings and their writings would go unpublishable. In other words, our current culture hasn’t yet reached the point: But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

      It’s not a matter of if we’ll get there, but when.

      1. As imperfect, sinful and hypocritical the Founding Fathers were, as are all of us today including me, we have much for which to be thankful to have had the United States founded by such imperfect men. The 12 Apostles of Christ were absolute fools, bumbling idiots and flagrant cowards. Thank God for the lot of them. God can work great miracles through such broken yet penitent men, as long as they are willing to serve Him. There is the rub. Careful to whom you bend a knee

        1. “Careful to whom you bend a knee”

          How about not bending a knee, at all.

    2. “If the drafting of the US Constitution and Federalist Papers were attempted today, not even a prayer could save them.”

      How do you derive individual rights and limited government from a premise (the supposed existence of God) that its own defenders admit is unprovable?

      As any builder can tell you: If you start with a faulty foundation, the upper floors crumble.

  13. Not all the framers of the Constitution were “white slave-owners.” Professor Brooks repeats the inaccurate rendition of history proffered by the likes of Nicole Hannah-Jones: namely, that the United States (which didn’t even exist in 1619) was created only to maintain slavery. Many of the framers were northerners who had no truck with slavery and, while it took another eighty years, the seeds were planted that bore fruit with the Thirteenth Amendment following the Civil War in which more than half a million Americans died to rid the several states of their inhumane practice.

    1. I haven’t seen either Brooks or Hannah-Jones claim “that the United States … was created only to maintain slavery.”

  14. I can understand why progressives are upset about the rulings out of SCOTUS this term. For over 100 years, they have had their way with designing our government to fit their demands. If the constitution obstructed them, they designed a workaround. The resulting government infrastructure is a Rube Goldberg-engineered mishmash so complicated in its design that no one can run it efficiently. Congress essentially gave up on their oversight of it. They merely passed vague laws and let the Executive branch figure it out. And regime after regime ran with it. And the administrative state was born. They made laws and regulations, they setup their own judiciary system and the Judicial branch deferred power to the Executive branch interpretation of the vague Legislative branch guidance. And the whole (unconstitutional) system became normalized in the eyes of a culture increasingly ignorant of the framer’s original intent. It’s no wonder then when SCOTUS makes a purely constitutional ruling in the NY concealed carry case, or Dobbs, or the prayer ruling, or the Maine school choice decision, head’s explode. That’s not the way it’s supposed to work! It’s not like being $30 trillion in debt would be a tell.

    Here’s an idea; before we scrap the constitution altogether, we might want to first find it and then eliminate everything that should be and would be more efficiently governed at the state level.

  15. So, who has perverted our freedom guarantee?
    And then complain about their perversion?

  16. (OT)

    From ABC News: “Former White House counsel Pat Cipollone has reached a deal with the Jan. 6 committee to testify in a transcribed interview Friday, according to sources familiar with the matter.”


  17. This reminds me of the classic joke: Husband buys his wife a new car, when presented she replies “I wanted the Yellow Mercedes”.

    Seems daily we hear of another grievance from the Woke left, it is so tiring. These children with their soft intellect and thin skin need to be shunned and made fun of. Their lack of Wisdom and basic knowledge of history and our founding documents is frightful. Their conceit in the believe that (they, them, {those: he, she or that which can’t be defined with specificity}) have anything worthy for consideration when they spout such nonsense, is truly hilarious.

    1. My question is why haven’t we/ won’t we just embarrassed the heck out of these little whimps and sent them packing? Follow the money trail of who is subsidizing a media that will not ridicule the ridiculous. Has the left gone so woke as to not be able to see their absurd situation? Do they truly believe all the blather of the extreme left or are they just whores for a paycheck?

Comments are closed.