The Daily

Law Day: The Fourteenth Amendment

President Eisenhower created Law Day in the United States for the first day of May. This year, the American Bar Association has chosen the theme of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution – the most cited and litigated provision in our Constitution. Passed in 1868 after the Civil War, Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and the freeing of slaves – the 14th Amendment specifically prohibits the States from denying any person “life, liberty or property, without due process of law” or to “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

These protections were the subject of Freedom Marches one hundred years later and those marches and the movement led by Martin Luther King, Jr. served as the foundation for Civil Rights Act of 1964, signed by President Johnson.

Today, the movement to ensure that all persons receive equal protection under the laws continues. In 2015, in Oberkfell v. Hodges, the United States Supreme Court ruled that according to the Fourteenth Amendment the States could not discriminate by denying marriage licenses on the basis of sexual orientation. The wisdom of our Founders is timeless and requires only that we stay true to our principles.