Text and History Narratives

The Shield of National Protection: The Text & History of Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment

The Shield tells how the framers of the Fourteenth Amendment gave Congress the lead role in enforcing the Constitution’s new guarantees of liberty and equality, only to have this explicit grant of power decimated by a hostile Supreme Court. The modern Supreme Court has made matters even worse, treating these older cases as super-precedents while inventing new restrictions on Congress’ ability to ensure state officials obey Fourteenth Amendment rights. The report argues that the Supreme Court should reconsider these errors, and restore the shield of national protection to its intended stature.

Summary

In June 2009, CAC released The Shield of National Protection: The Text and History of Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment, the second in CAC’s Text and History Narrative Series and the follow-up to The Gem of the Constitution, our report on the Privileges or Immunities Clause.

The Shield tells how the framers of the Fourteenth Amendment gave Congress the lead role in enforcing the Constitution’s new guarantees of liberty and equality, only to have this explicit grant of power decimated by a hostile Supreme Court. The modern Supreme Court has made matters even worse, treating these older cases as super-precedents while inventing new restrictions on Congress’ ability to ensure state officials obey Fourteenth Amendment rights. The report argues that the Supreme Court should reconsider these errors, and restore the shield of national protection to its intended stature.

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