The 14th Amendment interpreted against its original meaning [No. 86]
Articles,  Blog

The 14th Amendment interpreted against its original meaning [No. 86]


Recognize that many of the greatest failures
of the United States happened because the 14th Amendment was not interpreted according
to its original meaning. So the promise of equality for African Americans
was not realized. And this happened in two ways. One of course is the decision of Plessy v.
Ferguson. Which argued that, court upheld statute that
allowed African Americans to be forced to sit separately on a railroad. And the argument I think is plainly against
the meaning of the 14th Amendment. It was supposed to give equal civil rights
in the sense, rights to contract. And in this case, an African American wanted
to contract for a particular car in the train that whites had the opportunity to contract
for and he was forbidden. So that was a violation of his right to equality
and so it was a very badly decided case. Perhaps even worse were the decision of the
15th Amendment where the Supreme Court and Congress failed to prevent Southerners from
disenfranchising African Americans against the clear requirement that voting rights could
not be denied on the basis of skin color. Let’s imagine a world in which the Supreme
Court had decided Plessy different in which these court and Congress, who of course is
obligated to follow the 14th Amendment as well, had followed the original meaning. That would be a world in which the civil rights
revolutions would’ve been very different. Much would’ve been done actually already by
the court. Economic opportunities would’ve been much
more readily available. So the terrible plight of African Americans
in much of the early and middle 20th century would’ve been much ameliorated if we had followed
the original meaning of the constitution. So it should remind us that the biggest failure
of the 14th Amendment, was the failure of non-Originalism. So it should remind us that non-Originalism
does not necessarily have a progressive spin to it. This was a deeply regressive attempt to take
away rights that were guaranteed under the 14th Amendment and it could only happen with
non-Originalist decisions of the court and non-Originalist decisions of Congress.

4 Comments

  • Dustin Hedden

    So reconciliation is a MAJOR point for Dems to win 2020. We need to end the mistrust because it's going to take unity to weather the upcoming storm.

    This is a problem that shouldn't have been. How do we bridge this division now that everything is so polarized?

  • Andin Briwel

    But which party was it that introduced the Civil Rights Act of 1875, and which party was then embracing those non-originalist ideas and fighting to chip away at the measure’s protections while mounting public pressure to embrace segregation? 🤔
    Things really haven’t changed all that much, when it comes to “progressivism” and which side is more revisionist vs originalist in America. Remember, they liked to call it a, “living document.”

  • john panos

    The Federalist Society started by neo-cons? who pays for these 501(c)(3) nonprofit groups? a bunch of fellow travelers of the powell memo gang? out to restore corporatism of their founding fathers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *