William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal


Kathleen Riley


Critics of Confederate symbols have become increasingly vocal in recent years, forcing state and local governments to reevaluate their use of such symbols in public settings. This Note tracks the proliferation of Confederate symbols in American society since the 1950s, arguing that such use of these symbols, especially in the realm of public schools, stands in violation of the Constitution. Particularly, the Note analyzes the viability of possible legal remedies to school-sponsored racism based on the lack of government free speech rights, Thirteenth Amendment protections against "Badges of Inferiority," and Fourteenth Amendment claims under the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses. Furthermore, this Note presents an analogy of the issues surrounding state-sponsored use of Confederate symbols to those issues addressed in First Amendment Establishment Clause jurisprudence.