The dubious origin of the fourteenth amendment

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Walter J. Suthon, Jr. t

From TULANE LAW REVIEW-Volume 28, at Page 22


The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States has loomed large in recent years in litigation before the United States Supreme Court involving contentions for restriction of State regulatory power and enlargement of Federal regulatory power. Under this Amendment—and its companion, or satellite amendment, the Fifteenth—the United States Supreme Court, in the past approximately fifteen years, has repeatedly rendered decisions1 aimed at coercing racial integration and breaking down established systems of racial segregation in political, educational, social, economic and other fields in the Southern States—and in some instances outside the South.

It is not the purpose of this article to discuss the merits of segregation—or of its antitype, racial integration. These are questions upon which each of us has his or her own individual view, belief, and conviction, based on what we think and how we think. What is to be discussed relates to the use of the Fourteenth Amendment by the United States Supreme Court as an implement for invading the areas formerly reserved to State regulation, or to individual or group action, and for breaking down established systems of racial segregation and setting up compulsive racial inter-association—in effect compulsive racial integration. In this field, the “equal protection of the laws” clause and the “privileges or immunities” clause of the Fourteenth Amendment are those most frequently invoked in support of those legal attacks upon our fundamental way of life.

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