The 14th Amendment through time

The U.S. Constitution takes effect, setting in place our current form of federal government. During the ratification period following the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, James Madison proposed several amendments to address states’ concerns. One provided that “No state shall violate the equal rights of conscience, or the freedom of the press, or the trial by jury in criminal cases.” When Madison narrowed down the list of proposals to 12, this one got left behind. Ten of the remaining 12 were ratified as the Bill of Rights,

The Supreme Court rules in Barron v. Baltimore that the First through 10th Amendments only apply to the federal government — not the states. Chief Justice John Marshall wrote that the Bill of Rights’ amendments “contain no expression indicating an intention to apply them to the State governments.

SCOTUS rules that blacks are excluded from citizenship rights in Dred Scott v. Sandford.

President Abraham Lincoln delivers his famous Gettysburg Address, setting out the framework for what he planned to push as a constitutional amendment guaranteeing equality.

Congress adopts the 14th Amendment before it heads to the states for ratification.

Upon ratification by 28 states, the 14th Amendment becomes part of the Constitution.

Congress passes and President Ulysses S. Grant signs the Civil Rights Act, also known as the Ku Klux Klan Act, to enforce the new amendment. Today it’s codified as Section 1983, which is still invoked in modern-day cases to sue people abusing government power to violate civil rights.

Susan B. Anthony faces trial in New York for unlawfully voting in a congressional election. She argued that the 14th Amendment extends citizenship privileges to women. Instead, she was found guilty and fined $100 (that she never paid).

The Supreme Court holds in five disputes collectively known as the Civil Rights Cases that some parts of the Civil Rights Act of 1875 regarding equal access to public spaces were not authorized by the 13th or 14th Amendments. Authored by Justice Joseph P. Bradley, the ruling enables Jim Crow segreation policies for decades to follow.

The high court establishes American birthright citizenship in United States v. Wong Kim Ark, a case involving a man born in San Francisco in 1873 to Chinese nationals.

The Supreme Court finds that the 14th Amendment's due process clause prohibits states from interfering in most employment contracts in Lochner v. New York, authored by Justice Rufus Peckham.

In Meyer v. Nebraska, authored by Justice James C. McReynolds, the Supreme Court overturns a Nebraska state law that banned teaching young children foreign languages on the ground it infringed on individual autonomy rights given by the 14th Amendment.

In the first case of the 20th century to apply a specific constitutional right to the states through the 14th Amendment, the high court in Gitlow v. New York said that freedom of speech and the press can't be infringed by state law. (The defendant in the case, Benjamin Gitlow, had his conviction for criminal anarchy upheld.)

The right to an attorney in death-penalty cases applies to the states, the Supreme Court ruled in Powell v. Alabama.

In Baker v. Carr, Gray v. Sanders and Reynolds v. Sims, the Warren Court set standards for drawing legislative districts determined by "one person, one vote" that could be enforced in courts.

Congress passes and President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964, banning racial segregation in public places and at work.

The Supreme Court strikes down state laws banning interracial marriage in Loving v. Virginia.

In Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, the high court majority rules that racial quotas in college admissions violate equal-protection rules, but "properly devised" programs may weigh race as a factor in admissions decisions.

The Americans with Disabilities Act is enacted, expanding legal protections from discrimination on the basis of disability.

The Supreme Court finds that the male-only admissions policy at the Virginia Military Institute violates the equal protection clause in United States v. Virginia.

Second Amendment rights to gun ownership and use transfer to the states through the 14th Amendment, the Supreme Court ruled in McDonald v. Chicago, striking down the city's gun-control ordinances as unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court grants same-sex couples a fundamental right to marry on grounds of due process and equal protection in Obergefell v. Hodges.

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