The Fourteenth Amendment and equal protection | US government and civics | Khan Academy
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The Fourteenth Amendment and equal protection | US government and civics | Khan Academy


– [Instructor] Many parts of the United States Constitution deal with rights of an individual, and many amendments talk about protecting or expanding the rights of an individual, but the 14th Amendment is perhaps one of the most important
amendments in this discussion of protecting civil rights. And, in particular, Section 1 is the part that is most cited. So, let’s just read this together. “All persons 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.” So, let’s just focus in on parts of it. So, one big takeaway
about the 14th Amendment, this is the federal government saying, “Hey, these are things
that the state cannot do.” So, for example, when it says, “Nor shall any state
deprive any person of life, “liberty, or property,
without due process of law,” this is a restatement
of the 5th Amendment, that, “Hey, you know,
people can’t just stick you “in jail or take away your
property without you going “through some type of a
process, a legal process.” Well, in the 5th Amendment,
this was really talking about the federal government not being able to just take your property
or your liberty away from you without the process of law, but here, it’s saying,
“Nor shall any state.” And this clause right over here, this is known as the due process clause of the 14th Amendment. Then, right after that, it says, “Nor deny to any person
within its jurisdiction “the equal protection of the laws. “The equal protection of the laws,” I’m gonna underline that. And this, you might guess is called the equal protection clause. Now, the context in which the
14th Amendment was ratified, it happens in 1868, shortly after the end of the Civil War. You, of course, have
the 13th Amendment that, among other things, abolishes slavery, but then, you have these things in the south called black codes, which continue to repress the
rights of African-Americans, and that’s why Congress felt the need for the 14th Amendment to be passed. Now, one of the most notable cases in which the 14th Amendment
was brought up happens in 1896, Plessy v. Ferguson, and we have a whole video about this. And this is a case in which it was argued that is was unconstitutional
under the 14th Amendment for African-Americans to have to travel in a separate train car
from white Americans, and the Supreme Court
infamously said that, “Hey, as long as it is equal, “it is okay for it to be separate “and that it would not
violate the 14th Amendment,” and so, this idea of separate
but equal comes about. Now, that was significantly challenged as we go into 1954, where you have Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. Board of Education. And here, the argument
was that, inherently, separate could not be equal, and once again, the 14th
Amendment was invoked. And this time, the Supreme
Court unanimously ruled that, yes, separate can’t be equal, and that the schools
needed to be desegregated. So, even though it wasn’t
an official overruling of Plessy v. Ferguson, it
was a functional overruling of this doctrine of separate but equal. And, as we go into the
1960s civil rights movement, led by folks like Martin Luther King, it was the 14th Amendment
that was cited often. In another video, we’re going to look at Martin Luther King’s
letter from a Birmingham jail, in which he articulates the ideas of the civil rights movement,
it’s a quite moving letter. But, once again, it’s evoking these ideas of the 14th Amendment,
and it goes onto movements as disparate as the
women’s rights movement, led by organizations like the National Organization for Women, citing equal protection of the laws in situations of sexual
discrimination in the workplace. You have pro-life groups
citing the 14th Amendment, arguing that an unborn
fetus’ right to life is protected by the 14th Amendment. You have rulings around whether quotas in higher education are legal or not, once again, citing ideas of
equal protection of the laws. So, as you go forth in your study of United States government,
the 14th Amendment, especially Section 1, is
going to keep showing up.

17 Comments

  • quleughy

    @4:19 Those anti-choice groups now realizing that the constitution applies to Born Persons, of course, and so are trying to push a spurious personhood amendment to get around this.

  • Charles Brightman

    Questions:
    1. (And right up front I am not suggesting that this is how I believe it should be): But, other than the age to vote and the age to hold certain public offices, are ALL other age related laws unconstitutional? The Constitution gives certain rights to a person born in the USA, how could any other age related law override the Constitution? No where in the Constitution does it stipulate that an American citizen has to be of a certain mental state or maturity to acquire and exercise their rights under the Constitution. Now, here again, I am not suggesting that we should do away with the laws that help protect and also punish the American citizens that society deems is a child, but technically, aren't all those laws unconstitutional?

    Do we need a specific Constitutional Amendment to address the age of children, to limit their American rights given to them at birth or citizenship? And without such an Amendment, is society violating the Constitutional rights of American citizens on a daily basis that society deems is a child?

    2. Does an American citizen have an inherent right to end their own life? It's their very own life, don't they have a right to end it if they and they alone choose to do so for whatever reason they may have? Are basically all laws against suicide and euthanasia unconstitutional?

  • Chan Ho Woo

    Lol. In the philippines citizens from all countries are refused any such rights becuase they are either unaway criminals or pedophiles with no traceable records.

  • Shifa Kanwar

    To be honest I watch your videos only those which are of my concern . You go into the root cause of the problem which i really like about you I have a problem which think I should share with you . I hope you'll help .While calculating mode why do sometimes highest frequency is not a modal value . And in continuous series why importance is given to the previous frequency and the next frequency to the modal frequency in formula. I Google it too but didn't find the answer

  • Anthony Wright

    This amendment wasn't ratified lawfully (congressional record volume 113-part 12 june 12, 1967, to june 20, 1967 pages 15309 to 16558), there's also proof of this in State congressional records also, which nullifies it and makes anything thereafter null & void also according to 16A Am. Jur. 2d Constitutional Law § 195. This amendment was instituted by force! This was essentially when the Bankers, although they were at it long before this, hijacked the Republic & ushered in an unconstitutional Democracy operating in defacto status ever since.

  • Gia Pacella

    I think my civil rights have been violated 1 5 14 intertwined banned by Twitter.. I'm Italian American under 5% of USA Population

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