The Most Important and Overlooked Amendment
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The Most Important and Overlooked Amendment


You might have thought the Constitution and
the Bill of Rights covered all of the bases pretty well. Unfortunately it took another hundred years
before we got around to writing an amendment that has affected your life in more ways than
you probably ever knew. The Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth
Amendments are all referred to as the Reconstruction Amendments. After the Civil War, in order to regain their
representation in Congress and be welcome back into the Union, the southern states were
required to ratify these amendments. The thirteenth amendment is fairly short and
sweet. It ends slavery and involuntary servitude
– except as punishment for a crime. This is how prisons can get away with forcing
inmates to do manual labor. Which is a story for another time… The fifteenth amendment is likewise fairly
simple, and gave black men, former slaves, and any male regardless of race the right
to vote. Women would still have to wait another 50
years or so. Unfortunately many states started – and
continue – to try to find other ways to deny minorities the right to vote; like poll
taxes, literacy tests, felony disenfranchisement, and most recently, voter ID laws. All of which disproportionately affect minorities,
but again that is another story for another time. The fourteenth amendment is not so simple
and includes several moving parts. Constitutional law students spend entire semesters,
even years, learning about this amendment, but today we’re going to go over the more
important bits and how they’ve affected your daily life. This is the most litigated amendment in the
Constitution, meaning that it is cited as the reason for the decision in more Supreme
Court cases than any other. Most of those decisions are highly controversial
so buckle your seat belts kids, this is going to be a bumpy ride. The fourteenth amendment contains five sections
and the meat of the amendment is contained in the first, so we’re going go ahead and
spend the majority of our time looking into that that one. Now you wouldn’t think this would need to
be said in the constitution, but before the fourteenth we had a bit of an issue when it
came to the math of how to count people – specifically how much each person was worth… more specifically
how much each black person was worth. Prior to 1868, slaves were only three-fifths
of a person. The fourteenth amendment corrected that horrible
arithmetic and made it so that each person was worth one. The amendment also grants what is called Birth-right
Citizenship. If you are born in the United States or its
territories or born to US citizen parents, you are automatically a US citizen. America is one of the very few countries in
the world that grants birth-right citizenship and there have been many failed attempts to
repeal it. One of the main arguments against it is the
idea of the “anchor baby” and “birth tourism.” This is the idea that people looking for a
fast track to becoming a citizen will simply have a baby on US soil, and that this subverts
the normal naturalization and immigration process. This argument has existed since before the
amendment was adopted and the first landmark case involving the issue was in 1898 (United
States vs. Wong Kim Ark) – when a child was born to Chinese parents living in the
US and the Supreme Court upheld that the child was in fact a US citizen. The primary purpose of this clause was to
make all former slaves into citizens, no questions asked; and therefore grant them all the other
rights included in this amendment and the rest of the constitution. The amendment overturned the Dred Scott decision,
which stated that black people were not citizens and could not become citizens. In the years following the Civil War, once
slaves were free, many southern states tried to enact what were called “black codes”
in order to restrict the freedoms and privileges of former slaves on the basis that they were
not citizens – this amendment put a swift end to that idea… or at least, should have. Birth-right citizenship was also conditionally
granted to Native Americans by this amendment, but was fully extended to them by a separate
act in 1924. The fourteenth amendment also extends the
Bill of Rights to the states. Prior to this, only the federal government
was held to those rules. The federal government could not try you for
the same crime twice, impose cruel and unusual punishment, or abridge your freedom of speech
– but states could. This loophole was another obvious problem
that required an amendment to fix. The Fifth Amendment states that no person
shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. That sounds pretty intuitive, but since this
is the US Constitution, it only applied to the US federal government. The fourteenth amendment fixed this by adding
in a just a few words. No State shall deprive any person of life,
liberty, or property without due process of law. This small change effectively extended the
entirety of the Bill of Rights to the states. The Due Process clause does much more than
that however. And it can be split into two main ideas. Procedural Due Process is the due process
we all know and love. It’s the process by which you get arrested,
charged, tried, and can have your rights taken away. It’s pretty straight forward. Substantive Due Process is a far more complicated
issue however, and it’s the bit that law students spend forever trying to understand. So we’re going to go ahead and understand
it in just a few minutes. Substantive Due Process comes into play when
it is a basic human right – not something guaranteed by the constitution or the bill
of rights. To try and be a little more clear, procedural
due process is about how, why, and when the government can take away life, liberty, and
property. Substantive Due Process is about what aspects
of life and liberty can even be taken away in the first place… Or how can they be limited in order to protect
the life and liberty of others. As an example, let’s look at one of the
most controversial fourteenth amendment cases – Roe vs. Wade. The right in question here is the right to
privacy – as I’ve stated before this isn’t written anywhere, it’s interpreted from
several amendments, but is ultimately considered to be a basic human right. Specifically in this case, the medical privacy
of the mother. However, the government also feels it has
a duty to protect the life of the fetus. So in order to balance these competing basic
human rights, the Supreme Court decided that women could only abort the pregnancy until
the “point of viability” – that is, the point at which the fetus could survive
outside of the womb. This established the substantive due process
right of a mother to seek an abortion if she chooses, and states cannot pass laws to interfere
with or restrict that right. But of course, that doesn’t stop them from
trying, this is a hot button issue, even forty years later. People, special interests, and law makers
have been trying to restrict this right by trying to redefine what viability is and when
it takes place. This is, in the end, an existential or perhaps
religious question. Some have also tried to restrict abortions
in other ways like requiring education, waiting periods, and unnecessary medical tests – many
of which have been declared unconstitutional, but many of them continue today anyway. They’ve also tried using completely different
laws to shut down or restrict access to clinics which offer women’s services, like using
the building codes included in the Americans with Disabilities Act requiring hallways to
be a certain width, or requiring doctors in women’s clinics to have hospital admitting
privileges. Whether you agree or disagree with abortion,
you should be able to see an obvious parallel and repetition of history here. The Constitution and the Supreme Court granted
and upheld a right of certain individuals, so those opposed to those people having those
rights found other ways to restrict access to that right. Whether it’s a poll tax, literacy test,
doorway width, or invasive transuterine ultrasound, in the end, these are all ways one group has
sought to restrict the constitutional rights of another. So okay, let’s take a step away from that
heavy topic and take a look at another fourteenth amendment case involving substantive due process
– Same-sex Marriage. In the Obergefell vs. Hodges case, the substantive
due process right in question was the fundamental right to marry. The Supreme Court found that this fundamental
right extends to same-sex couples for four reasons:
The right to personal choice regarding marriage is inherent in the concept of individual autonomy. It supports a two-person union unlike any
other in its importance to the committed individuals. Safeguards children and families and thus
draws meaning from related rights of childrearing, procreation, and education. Marriage is a keystone of our social order
– and there is no difference between same- and opposite-sex couples with respect to this
principle. They found that this substantive due process
right does not infringe on anyone else’s rights. Again, whether you believe that their ability
to marry infringes on or demeans your own marriage is much more of an existential and
religious question rather than a legal or constitutional one. While they didn’t argue this point, they
could have also made the case that same-sex marriage should be federally recognized under
the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the Constitution. “Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each
State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State.” – Article IV, Section 1
This is the clause that makes your Texas driver’s license valid in every other state. Or declares your Hawaiian birth certificate
as a legal document in the entire country. So it could have been argued that a Massachusetts
marriage certificate should likewise be valid in every other state. However, they didn’t have to make this point
because their Fourteenth Amendment argument was made doubly strong by another clause – Equal
Protection under the Law. To put it simply, the equal protection clause
says that if some people in a state are allowed to do it, then everyone is allowed to do it. Whether it’s black people serving on juries
(Strauder v. West Virginia) or Chinese people running businesses (Yick Wo v. Hopkins) if
some people can, then all people can. Racial tensions were still high after the
Civil War though, so allowing people to do the same things did not mean they got to do
them in the same place. In Plessy vs. Ferguson, they established the
“separate but equal” doctrine… which lasted over 50 years. It wasn’t until Brown v. Board of Education
that they decided that having people separate was inherently unequal. Even if the facilities and teachers were the
exact same quality, keeping groups separated based on race was deemed socially harmful. Therefore, thanks to the fourteenth amendment,
schools were desegregated. The Equal Protection clause is not without
controversy however, even today. The 2000 Election between Bush and Gore was
decided based on the Equal Protection Clause. The entire election rested in the hands of
Florida, and the vote was so close that state law required a mandatory recount. However, every county had different rules
on how to recount votes. Some of them required a hand recount of each
ballot, some a machine recount, some of them counted hanging chads or simply dimpled chads. The rules were all over the place. If this sounds ridiculous, you’re absolutely
right, and if you would like to know just how ridiculous it was, I recommend watching
the movie Recount. Anyway, the Supreme Court decided that this
violated the Equal Protection clause. All people in all counties should be treated
the same – all votes in all counties should be recounted in the same way. However, they also decided that there wasn’t
enough time to recount all of the votes – so all recounts should end and the original results
stand. This effectively gave Bush the presidency
and is still considered one of the court’s strangest and most controversial decisions. I bought this suit when I was 30 pounds heavier… Luckily, putting the weight back on is much
cheaper than getting a new suit! But America has always been on the path of
more freedom, more equality, and more rights for more people. Once someone wants a right that someone else
enjoys, it is simply a matter of time before they get it. The Fourteenth Amendment plays a major role
in that progressive idea. This framework for equality is already within
the Constitution, no special law or separate constitutional amendment needs to be written
in order to give people equal rights. It only takes a group willing to voice their
desire to be equal for it to eventually come to pass. We have desegregated schools, same-sex marriage,
women’s rights, and even birth-right citizenship all thanks to the Fourteenth Amendment. And who knows what future rights will be granted
or upheld based on it. So the next time someone says that we can’t
give this group equality because it would require a special set of laws or amendments
or that the Supreme Court doesn’t have the power to decide on basic human issues or you
hear about some new rules that disproportionately affects one group over another, maybe now,
you’ll know better. Hey guys if you enjoyed this video or you
learned something, go ahead and give that like button a click. If you’d like to see more from me, I put
out new videos every weekend, so go ahead and give that subscribe button some due process. I’ve finally gotten around to creating a
subreddit with the help of my friend donnythenuts, so please come join the conversation over
there. I will also be live tweeting and giving my
thoughts on the Presidential debate Monday night so make sure to follow me on Facebook
and Twitter. I’ll probably write up my thoughts and opinions
on the debate the day after and post it to the sub as well. But in the meantime if you’d like to watch
one of my older videos, how about this one?

100 Comments

  • rita 32g

    Your wrong roe v wade didnt grant people more rights it was the court striping rights away from people. It was based in racism and its disproportionately targets minorities.

    I have no idea how you came to the conclusion that voter IDs target minorities when they are literally requiring every american to have them and abortions not targeting minorities when they litterally kill the most helpless of Americans

  • Liberty Cowboy

    So voter id laws are a bad thing? So irs ok to need an id to buy tobacco, alcohol, rent a motel room, buy an airplane ticket, buy an r rated movie…but not to vote? But wait (he said) you cant require an id for a protected constitutional right…unless its the right that according to the 2nd amendment, you cannot infringe. Am I understanding correctly???

  • Casey smith

    Hey the 14th amendment sating that if something is leagal in one state then it should be leagle in other states could apply to the Majrijuanna laws regarding Colorado, California, Washington, and Oregon oh and Hawaii.

  • Luis Omar

    Voter ID laws affect minorities? Wtf? Ok over here in Puerto Rico we need IDs to vote and well be registered voters. Its stupidly simple and easy to get one and even public schools have a day where kids who, will be 18 by next election and are 16 at the time, can get their license that day. I wasn't able to get mine in high school so i just got mine before the 2016 election and it took me barely no effort, and i ain't white nor rich.

  • MotoFeeder

    Your statements like "the horrible arithmetic of 3/5 of person" for slaves in The Constitution makes me question whether you really Know Better, since in this case you clearly don't. It was brilliant arithmetic because the Southern States wanted to count slaves as a full person so they could have more Congressman in the House of Representatives, and thus more power at the Federal level. Constitutional Convention attendees from the Northern States and some morons from VA like Washington and Madison who were opposed to slavery and seeking to end it weren't about to let them get away with such a power grab, and said absolutely not. Most of the VA delegation and the rest of the Southern delegations were ready to walk. But all sides knew they needed to remain a Union if they had any chance at survival as a Nation. The 3/5 of a person for slaves was the compromise. It and the clause to abolish the slave trade in 20 years (1808) were the first National level limits on what had become at the time a 200 year old institution inherited from Britain and Europe. We didn't start slavery, the phucking Brits did. Slavery by that time had been government sanctioned for almost 200 years. We can't even repeal the 2nd Amendment in 200 years and you think they could just end slavery by noon on Wednesday of The Convention. You should know better. And you should appreciate the Herculean efforts most of the founders exhibited their entire lives to end an abomination they inherited from those brilliant Europeans you laud so well.

  • Nom du Clavier

    My brother-in-law is a dual citizen because his mum is American; does that mean my niece is automatically one too? Or do you just have the right to citizenship and have to apply? Generally when someone's dual here their parents put them down for it at birth.

  • The Rag Tag Gamer

    so your saying Minorities cant afford to get or have an ID? you need an ID for almost everything from getting an appartment, buying beer, cigarettes, opening a bank account, applying for a job, and so much more.. I honestly never got the concept that it affects minorities more.. at that point you are saying that they are incapable or unable to obtain a $5 state ID in most cases.. this is idiotic and even borderline raciest..

  • Michael Makeer

    I do have a problem with defining Voter ID laws as an impediment in the exercise of the right to vote. It is a function that is particular to the citizen and the proper exercise of those rights. How is establishing someones identity an act of suppression, or an impediment? We require ID on nearly every interaction people do and have with each other, so how does voting become the single act where ones ID is to be trusted without verification?

  • goldenhotdogs

    2:00 It wasn't about how much each person was worth but to keep the southern slaves from having excessive political influence because they had higher populations due to slavery than the northern states did…

  • the illegal seagull

    Im confused why were you getting ready to head out while doing this video? Was it a joke or something? And what do the hashtags have to do with the video? If you included gay rights you may as well have done womens and black rights or else it wouldnt make much sense

  • Blank

    Absolute bullshit no country that you leftists bitch about having socialized healthcare while the US does not does not also have voter ID laws. Nice try you lying prick.

  • Tskmaster

    State Poll taxes, having to directly pay for voting: Illegal
    State Issued ID that requires money, having to indirectly pay for voting: legal
    "But it's reasonable! Who doesn't have a viable ID these days?"
    Poor people. But they shouldn't be voting anyway. Crap… I said the silent part out loud.

  • Amir Stein

    I got birth right citizenship; my dad is an American citizen, and I got the passport, even though I never lived in the US. Although I'm not sure what to do with the passport 🤔🤔🤔.
    Any ways, I was wondering if you can make a video about mandatory military service. I live in Israel, and there are people fighting to change our compulsory service into a voluntary basis service.

  • Richard Day

    "America has always been on the path towards more freedom in more ways to more people" – yeah no. Guns have been progressively getting more and more restricted since the thirties. The assault weapons ban didn't actually stop anything. If you think it did, look at the guns made while it was in effect. It was walked right around.

  • HeartbreakKid _

    Voter ID laws aren't voter suppression, there are many cases of voter fraud, and, shouldn't you be literate if you're above 18 years of age?

  • Cuddlerisi0

    I saw the tags and you dressing up for a date, I seriously thought you’d end up going to a gay wedding or being a groom at said gay wedding

  • Ben Cofield

    This video has become important now that extremely overrestrictive laws on abortion were passed in Alabama and Georgia

  • Joshua Roberts

    Thank you for this. I had to write a 10 page paper on the 14th Amendment and this is the best video I've come across for help. Really made writing the paper a lot quicker.

  • 664 TheNeighborOfTheBeast

    Supreme Court: a woman has to have a right to medical privacy

    Alabama: does she really though?

  • Reckless Roges

    Great video. "Be kind, as equality is inevitable." (Just really really slow in some cases.) Was the order of preparing for the date an extension of your intro? "Ironing before shoe polishing, otherwise you will get polish on your shirt." "Shower before nail clipping so that they are softer and don't tear." "button from the bottom of the shirt to keep them even." "Don't iron in the middle of the room or someone, (probably you) will trip up or get in the way."

  • Gustavo Aroeira

    I've seen a video of yours where you answered someone that asked when you would appear shirtless. Well, that was close.

  • TheFoolinthe rainn

    Abortion- 40 years ago, we didn't have the human body part Industry creating huge demand for fetuses, nor the technology to know anything beyond. "Educated guesses".

    Yet if we're establishing paternity & forcing child support, cant have it both ways

    How about a new public service announcement –

    "zip it up boys

    If we take away male participation in the decision, it'll take away their responsibility.

    This is indeed human life. We should be careful to not squander nor disrespect it

  • Matthew Van Buren

    It's kind of insulting and racist to think that voter ID laws harm minorities. You need an ID to do practically everything, and it's not exactly complicated to get one.

  • Dave Hobbs

    Btw you aren't supposed to pluck nose hairs, just thought you should know. Get one of those handy dandy nosehair trimmers

  • Schutte God

    I love how people keep getting the three-fifths compromise wrong. It had nothing to do with how much people were "worth" – in fact, it was the slaveowners who wanted all slaves counted equally. It was the abolitionist north that wanted none of them to be counted at all. It had to do with how much power and influence each state had. So, naturally, the north wanted to pretend the south didn't have as many people as it actually did. And no, slaves weren't "treated" as three-fifths of a person, either. They were treated far worse.

  • googoo gjoob

    how does proof of citizenry suppress?
    it ensures Americans decide what happens in America.
    to wish otherwise is silly & self destructive.

  • Old Wolf

    I am impressed. Not many people have read Yick Wo v. Hopkins. The issue of birthright citizenship came up prior howeer, to the 14th amendment, under the Prudence Crandall case (1832). The argument was made that the free-born persons of African descent should be able to be educated as they were lawfully citizens by birthright citizenship. The state pointed out that this would give to them the right to keep and carry arms, and thus those of that particular heritage could not be given citizenship, due to their 'inferior' condition. It was pure racism that eliminated that benefit in the US system. There was also within the constitution a legal term of 'Privileges and immunities' under article 4, which was rarely discussed but had specific legal meaning at the time, regarding the privileges and immunities of British subjects under the Declaration of Rights of 1689, as well as the Habeas Corpus and Tolerance acts. That British constitution created a set of preexisting rights, under that system of privileges and immunities. It was argued after the constitutional founding by racists that said rights only extended to those of anglo-saxon heritage, in order to maintain the Anglo-saxon grip on government. (Note that this also largely excluded a good portion of European descent that were not of the 'proper' heritage). Meanwhile, the passage of the 11th amendment effectively gutted the article 4 review of privileges and immunities cases at the federal level. The Equal Protection clause likewise existed, under the prohibitions of bills of attainder, and bills of pains and penalties, systems of separate law where the legislature defined a target, and legislated against that target. (Cummings v Missouri, ex parte garland, aptheker v secretary of state).
    The 14th was established to allow enforcement of the 1866 civil rights act, which was reestablished in 1871 and currently resides in title 28, section 1343, title 18, section 241-245, and title 42, section 1981-1985. The debate on the subject was interesting in the congressional record.

  • Limerickman

    Voter ID Laws do not effect minorities. That is a lie from Democrats. It only effect illegals whom do not have the legal right to vote. Minorities and poor whom are US Citizen all have government issued ID's and can get them. From Driver Licences to State welfare cards, which are government issued identity cards. They all know where the DMV is. It actually an insult to the intelligence of the minorities and of the poor, that they cannot get government ID, which you need to get to buy so many things. From buying Alcohol, to opening Bank accounts, to get any financial assistance from the State. Interactions with the State, you are required to show ID when asked.
    You need government issued photo ID for Welfare Benefits, Petition Your Government (identify yourself), Right of Assembly (Protest must produce Id when asked or required if organizing a protest), Right to Marry which requires you to produce a Government photo ID for obtaining a marriage license for both potential spouses, Freedom of Movement (Driver licence required, Buses when asked, Trains when asked, Airplanes required). Public Accommodations (hotels, motels, etc).

    Buying Insurance to prove identity and to buy government restrictive products.

    To get an ID for a Driver licence, you need a government issued ID. For example. I cannot get a driver licence, unless I prove my social service number to the government department that issues driver licence, which is not the government department that issues my social service number ID. A Government department issue such a number, which I cannot claim anything from the State without that social service number.

  • JWil42

    If people realized that words mean what they mean when they were written, then many of the most controversial cases decided would not have been as controversial.

  • The_Wolf

    "States cannot pass laws to restrict or interfere with [the right to seek an abortion]"

    Boy, is past KB in for a rough awakening.

  • Romano Böllermann

    It’s better to shave after the shower. It softens the hair, making it easier to cut through. Now you know better. 😉

    Love your channel btw!

  • iiiiiifggffggffgfgfg

    We've got birthright citizenship in Canada. Most new world countries do. Most old world countries don't.

  • Jeff Oliver

    1:55
    You should “know better” than to attribute the 3/5 clause in the Constitution to a problem with math or how much each black person was worth.
    If you don’t understand the reason for the 3/5 compromise then I don’t know why I should trust you to be accurate about history. If you do understand it yet still choose to attribute it to a problem with math then I don’t know why I should trust you to be honest about history.

    Let me ask you or anyone else who cares to answer:
    Do you think that each slave should have been counted as a whole person for representation in Congress?
    Why or why not?
    Please be honest.

  • Reasonable Speculation

    Slaves worth 3/5ths of a Person?  WRONG, Slaves were 3/5ths of One Vote… …Slaves should be worth ZERO  when voting..  Who do you think is advantaged by ANY vote that a Slave Population has?  Wish it didn't need to be said, but to avoid Emotional Distress; Captive Servitude, other then that applied to convicted criminals, should be illegal.

  • Jeff Dwyer

    Your early point about "Voter ID laws" is total BS … So you think minorities are too stupid to get an ID ? You need an ID to drive , fly , get on an Amtrak , get a loan , a car , buy liquor , get a welfare check , get a job , get unemployment check etc…How would you feel if someone already falsely took your vote when you got to the polls ? Come on , you are smarter than that .

  • 2Fast4Mellow

    But what if by religion man and woman are not considered equal? In several mosques woman are separated from men..
    However this is protected by the first amendment (freedom of religion)..

    Issues are not always so black and white and red and yellow and blue..

  • John Lee

    I see what this video is doing. Demonstrate your ability to groom, declare your support of women's rights, denote you're not a racist before you even meet the person in a public area. If you didn't get a date after this, it'd be a shame. Get a new shirt tho.

  • Matthew Heckman

    Abortion=Murder
    Don't have sex if you don't want to get pregnant
    If you're raped and get pregnant and you don't want the baby, put the baby up for adoption

  • coltsfan354

    How does the fourteenth amendment allow civil forfeiture? Shouldn't that violate the right to property, especially since most of the time you aren't charged with a crime in that instance?

  • ToutCQJM

    Is that the way straight men dress for a date? Gay men are so behind, or maybe I was never cute enough for a man to dress up.

  • Maria Willoughby

    This is awesome. It's like Mr. Roger's Neighborhood, but Mr. K.B's neighborhood and instead of walking through a neighborhood we're getting ready for a date and we're learning about law and minorities and history..and love the channel wonderful!

  • Maria Willoughby

    lol I was listening to the video (not watching) and kept hearing this clicking and was looking around trying to find out what it was and it was him clipping his nails. lol

  • Maria Willoughby

    Seeing you as a Lawyer would be awesome or like a Junior Lawyer or someone that…it would be cool if posted more videos with legal info in it. 🙂

  • Maria Willoughby

    🙁 I thought you were going on a date. I (s that carryout was what I was going to say and it looks like BK, but in a suit ) lmao and just I was typing that you stated lying about date. Fun video Yayyy!

  • PandemoniumMeltDown

    What just happen?!? Super maintenance and suit up to go to that burger place I'd never name?!? Prop? but but but… Argghhh!

  • Dan Schwartz

    We hear about the 14th Amendment all the time, with all the talk about birthright citizenship. And, as he says, it's cited most often of any in Supreme Court cases, probably because of the "incorporation" doctrine re the Bill of Rights. So how is it "overlooked"? And… what is the purpose of all that "preparing for his date" business?

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