Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution

The Fourteenth Amendment (Amendment XIV) to the United States Constitution was adopted on July 9, 1868, as one of the Reconstruction Amendments. Arguably one of the most consequential amendments, it addresses citizenship rights and equal protection under the law and was proposed in response to issues related to former slaves following the American Civil War.

The Due Process Clause prohibits state and local governments from depriving persons of life, liberty, or property without a fair procedure. The Supreme Court has ruled this clause makes most of the Bill of Rights as applicable to the states as it is to the federal government, as well as to recognize substantive and procedural requirements that state laws must satisfy. The Equal Protection Clause requires each state to provide equal protection under the law to all people, including all non-citizens, within its jurisdiction. This clause has been the basis for many decisions rejecting irrational or unnecessary discrimination against people belonging to various groups.