Civil and Human Rights

RELEASE: Victory For The Constitution: Eighth Amendment’s Excessive Fines Protections Apply to States

“Today marks a milestone in the 228-year history of the Bill of Rights.” — CAC Chief Counsel Brianne Gorod

WASHINGTON – On news this morning that the U.S. Supreme Court held that the protections of the Eighth Amendment’s Excessive Fines Clause apply to the states, Constitutional Accountability Center Chief Counsel Brianne Gorod issued the following statement:

Today marks a milestone in the 228-year history of the Bill of Rights. As should have been the case since the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified in 1868, the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on the imposition of excessive fines now applies to state governments no less than it does to the federal government.

Justice Ginsburg’s masterful opinion for the Court echoes key sections of our brief in recounting the history leading to the drafting of the Fourteenth Amendment—including the racist Black Codes that used draconian fines to punish and subjugate African Americans for petty crimes—and explains why the Constitution prohibits the states from meting out the kind of penalty borne by Tyson Timbs.

Significantly, this case has united progressives and conservatives—both advocates and the Justices themselves—in a shared understanding of the original meaning of the Constitution.

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Resources:

CAC brief in support of petitioners in Timbs v. Indiana: https://www.theusconstitution.org/litigation/timbs-v-indiana/

CAC cert-stage brief in support of petitioners in Timbs v. Indianahttps://www.theusconstitution.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Timbs-CAC-Brief.pdf

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Constitutional Accountability Center is a think tank, public interest law firm, and action center dedicated to fulfilling the progressive promise of the Constitution’s text and history. Visit the new CAC website at www.theusconstitution.org.

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