The Catholic University of America


Student Scholar Series Continues with a Presentation from Kevin Tamul (3L) on the Privileges or Immunities Clause

   Print Friendly and PDF

Kevin Tamul (3L) delivered the second Student Scholars Series lecture of the semester on March 15. Tamul’s scholarship, “A Practical Approach: Applying the Privileges or Immunities Clause to Intrastate State Commerce Disputes,” argued that the use of the Privileges or Immunities Clause is a practical means of resolving the current circuit split over the state’s power to regulate intrastate commerce. 

Tamul provided an examination of the meaning of “privileges” and “immunities” as the founders understood them and the Privileges or Immunities Clause as the framers of the Fourteenth Amendment understood the clause. He also discussed how the Court in the Slaughter-House Cases subsequently dismantled the Framer’s interpretation.

“The Privileges or Immunities Clause was written in 1866 so while the Framer’s intent of the Constitution is a good starting point, we have to look to Fourteenth Amendment …the Fourteenth Amendment is a response to the fear that the recently pass Civil Rights Act might be unconstitutional,” Tamul said.

Tamul also discussed the history of the Due Process Clause in deciding cases involving economic liberty, and the limited revival of the Privileges or Immunities Clause by the Supreme Court.

Tamul proposed a limited application of Privileges or Immunities Clause as a prudent and fair means to resolve the circuit split over the extent of state’s power to regulate intrastate commerce.

“The best way to resolve this split and future disputes about intrastate commerce is the narrow application of the Privileges or Immunities Clause. At its core, the Privileges or Immunities Clause is understood to protect citizens from their own state. Here, it would be a shield against the state’s possible protectionist regulations,” he said.

Director of Reimbursement and Regulatory Affairs for the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, Frank Harrington served as the respondent for Tamul’s lecture.

After the lecture, Tamul and Harrington took questions from the audience, and students had the opportunity to engage in conversations with faculty and guests.

The Student Scholar Series was founded by CUA Law Professor Harmon in 2009. It was established in order to recognize notable legal scholarship produced by students during the academic year and to foster the practical skills associated with presenting and defending that scholarship in a professional conference-style setting.

Frank Harrington and Kevin Tamul pictured to the left.