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POC NL #24 – The 14th Amendment’s Due Process Clause

Continued from POC #23

The Supreme Court went on to say in the SLAUGHTER-HOUSE CASES, 83 U.S. 36 in 1872:

 “Was it the purpose of the fourteenth amendment, … to transfer the security and protection of all the civil rights which we have mentioned, from the States to the Federal government?  And … was it intended to bring within the power of Congress the entire domain of civil rights heretofore belonging exclusively to the States?

“[And] …when the effect is to fetter and degrade the State governments by subjecting them to the control of Congress, in the exercise of powers heretofore universally conceded to them [the states]…; when in fact it radically changes the whole theory of the relations of the State and Federal governments to each other and of both these governments to the people …

“We are convinced that no such results were intended by the Congress which proposed these amendments, nor by the legislatures of the States which ratified them.

“Having shown that the privileges and immunities relied on in the argument are those which belong to citizens of the States as such, and that they are left to the State governments for security and protection, and not by this article placed under the special care of the Federal government, ...

“The existence of laws in the States where the newly emancipated negroes resided, which discriminated with gross injustice and hardship against them as a class, was the evil to be remedied by this clause, and by it [the 14th Amendment] such laws are forbidden.

“We doubt very much whether any action of a State not directed by way of discrimination against the negroes as a class, or on account of their race, will ever be held to come within the purview of this provision.

“If, however, the States did not conform their laws to its requirements, then by the fifth section of the article of amendment Congress was authorized to enforce it by suitable legislation.”

The last sentence in the case above refers to the last section of the 14th Amendment which states:

Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.”

This clearly shows, as the Supreme Court correctly stated, that enforcement of the 14th Amendment was to be accomplished by Congress thru appropriate legislation – NOT by the courts.

The next POC Newsletter will summarize the last seven newsletters.

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