Historic Events Leading to 14th Amendment, Supreme Court Interpretation And Relevant Cases

Historical Event Resulting to 14th Amendment Adoption

This paper will be based on 14th amendment. The 14th amendment talks of various facets of citizenship and citizens’ rights. According to first section of the 14th amendment, all individuals naturalized or born in the United States and subject to the US jurisdiction are United States citizens and citizens of the state they live in. No state according to this amendment enforce or make any law that shall abridge the immunities or privileges of the US citizens, nor shall any person be deprived of property, liberty, or life by any state without due law process, nor deny any individual within its authority the equivalent protection of laws. This amendment was ratified on 28th of July in 1868, denoting the change in attitudes that hit majority of American following the chaotic Civil War. Thus, the amendment followed the US civil war. It acted as the American initial trial to legally challenge supremacist ideas of white by developing multiracial society that was truly equal (Bartley 473). The civil war intensely altered the power and role of the government of the United States. In the years of war; 1861-1865, the federal government role expanded as the administration of Lincoln tried to handle due issues of eradicating slavery and uphold the union. The constitution attitudes changed from the limited traditional interpretation to extensive interpretation. Federal authority expansion by Lincoln pushed normal citizens to agree with federal power change. This acceptance can clearly be demonstrated by ratification of 13th and 15th amendments, which intensely altered realities of racial in the US by assigning the federal government the role of civil liberties defender, resulting to the definition of the 14th amendment (Bartley 474).

Supreme Court Interpretation of the 14th Amendment since its Adoption

The Supreme Court has highly contributed to the adaptation of the 14th Amendment, especially the first section of this amendment. The Supreme Court made the first landmark ruling to support this amendment in 1954 in a case that challenged segregation of students on racial basis. The Supreme Court since used this amendment taken to eliminate racial discrimination especially on the application of the laws of law and to enhance provision of equal treatment to all in public sector, to an extent of nullifying state based acts promoting discrimination. While the application of the first section of this amendment. However, the same cannot be said about the second section of this amendment. The amendment in the second section which states as described above has been highly unfulfilled. According to (1144), through the interpretation of the judicially, the court has reduced the immunities or privileges clause nullity. The clause of due process has frequently failed to offer procedural safeguard over government arbitrary action. The clause was at first limited since the court held that due process was needed when only a right, instead of a privilege was denied. The due process procedural scope more recently has been highly diminished by the positivism embracement. Based on this perception, persons have property and liberty interest only if the government awards them with it and are only entitled to the due process which the governments considers to offer.  The utilization of the clause of due process to safeguard substantive rights seems limited forever since it has been tarred with Lochner era negative implications. The clause of equal protection was almost fully unused for the initial four score the history of amendment (Chemerinsky 1144).

Court Case Relevant to the 14th Amendment

Although slavery abolishment did not solve the race problem in America, the civil war altered the American racial laws, though it did not alter their racial attitude. However the decision of Warren Court in Brown v. Board of Education which the courts eventually instituted the principles of Fourteenth Amendment and tried to develop racial equality legally, and color blindness when conducting social policy and dispensing justice. The case regarded children segregation in public schools (Bartley 474). This case became a landmark case in 1954 when the Supreme Court anonymously ruled that public schools children segregation based on their racial was against the constitution. This marked the end of “equal but separate” precedent created about 60 years earlier by Supreme Court in Plessy v. Ferguson case that served as a promoter of the extension of civil right movement in 1950s. Another case that supported the 14th amendment was the Loving v. Virginia case in 1967. The case regarded the proceeding on debate to vacate rulings for going against interracial marriages ban. The Caroline County Circuit Court, Virginia, repudiated the debate, and it granted writ of error. The Supreme Court of Appeal in Virginia asserted the convictions, and suitable jurisdiction was identified. The Chief Justice Warren of the Supreme Court of the US however held that miscegenation status implemented by Virginia to stop marriages between individuals primarily on the racial classification basis was against the clauses of due process and equal protection of the 14th Amendment (Law Guides 1).

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