What is the 14th Amendment??
All person born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
Does this amendment apply to me?
Plessy v. Ferguson
- The Louisiana legislature had passed a law requiring black and white residents to ride separate, but equal, train cars. In 1892, Louisiana police arrested Homer Adolph Plessy for taking his seat on a train car reserved for “whites only” because he refused to move to a separate train car reserved for blacks. Plessy argued that the Louisiana statute violated the 13th and 14th Amendments by treating black Americans inferior to whites. Plessy lost in every court in Louisiana before appealing to the Supreme Court in 1896. In a 7-1 decision, the Court held that as long as the facilities were equal, their separation satisfied the 14th Amendment. Justice Harlan authored the lone dissent. Passionately he clarified that the Constitution was color-blind, railing the majority for an opinion which he believed would match Dred Scott in infamy.