The Most Important and Overlooked Amendment
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The Most Important and Overlooked Amendment

October 5, 2019


You might have thought the Constitution and
the Bill of Rights covered all of the bases pretty well. Unfortunately it took another hundred years
before we got around to writing an amendment that has affected your life in more ways than
you probably ever knew. The Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth
Amendments are all referred to as the Reconstruction Amendments. After the Civil War, in order to regain their
representation in Congress and be welcome back into the Union, the southern states were
required to ratify these amendments. The thirteenth amendment is fairly short and
sweet. It ends slavery and involuntary servitude
– except as punishment for a crime. This is how prisons can get away with forcing
inmates to do manual labor. Which is a story for another time… The fifteenth amendment is likewise fairly
simple, and gave black men, former slaves, and any male regardless of race the right
to vote. Women would still have to wait another 50
years or so. Unfortunately many states started – and
continue – to try to find other ways to deny minorities the right to vote; like poll
taxes, literacy tests, felony disenfranchisement, and most recently, voter ID laws. All of which disproportionately affect minorities,
but again that is another story for another time. The fourteenth amendment is not so simple
and includes several moving parts. Constitutional law students spend entire semesters,
even years, learning about this amendment, but today we’re going to go over the more
important bits and how they’ve affected your daily life. This is the most litigated amendment in the
Constitution, meaning that it is cited as the reason for the decision in more Supreme
Court cases than any other. Most of those decisions are highly controversial
so buckle your seat belts kids, this is going to be a bumpy ride. The fourteenth amendment contains five sections
and the meat of the amendment is contained in the first, so we’re going go ahead and
spend the majority of our time looking into that that one. Now you wouldn’t think this would need to
be said in the constitution, but before the fourteenth we had a bit of an issue when it
came to the math of how to count people – specifically how much each person was worth… more specifically
how much each black person was worth. Prior to 1868, slaves were only three-fifths
of a person. The fourteenth amendment corrected that horrible
arithmetic and made it so that each person was worth one. The amendment also grants what is called Birth-right
Citizenship. If you are born in the United States or its
territories or born to US citizen parents, you are automatically a US citizen. America is one of the very few countries in
the world that grants birth-right citizenship and there have been many failed attempts to
repeal it. One of the main arguments against it is the
idea of the “anchor baby” and “birth tourism.” This is the idea that people looking for a
fast track to becoming a citizen will simply have a baby on US soil, and that this subverts
the normal naturalization and immigration process. This argument has existed since before the
amendment was adopted and the first landmark case involving the issue was in 1898 (United
States vs. Wong Kim Ark) – when a child was born to Chinese parents living in the
US and the Supreme Court upheld that the child was in fact a US citizen. The primary purpose of this clause was to
make all former slaves into citizens, no questions asked; and therefore grant them all the other
rights included in this amendment and the rest of the constitution. The amendment overturned the Dred Scott decision,
which stated that black people were not citizens and could not become citizens. In the years following the Civil War, once
slaves were free, many southern states tried to enact what were called “black codes”
in order to restrict the freedoms and privileges of former slaves on the basis that they were
not citizens – this amendment put a swift end to that idea… or at least, should have. Birth-right citizenship was also conditionally
granted to Native Americans by this amendment, but was fully extended to them by a separate
act in 1924. The fourteenth amendment also extends the
Bill of Rights to the states. Prior to this, only the federal government
was held to those rules. The federal government could not try you for
the same crime twice, impose cruel and unusual punishment, or abridge your freedom of speech
– but states could. This loophole was another obvious problem
that required an amendment to fix. The Fifth Amendment states that no person
shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. That sounds pretty intuitive, but since this
is the US Constitution, it only applied to the US federal government. The fourteenth amendment fixed this by adding
in a just a few words. No State shall deprive any person of life,
liberty, or property without due process of law. This small change effectively extended the
entirety of the Bill of Rights to the states. The Due Process clause does much more than
that however. And it can be split into two main ideas. Procedural Due Process is the due process
we all know and love. It’s the process by which you get arrested,
charged, tried, and can have your rights taken away. It’s pretty straight forward. Substantive Due Process is a far more complicated
issue however, and it’s the bit that law students spend forever trying to understand. So we’re going to go ahead and understand
it in just a few minutes. Substantive Due Process comes into play when
it is a basic human right – not something guaranteed by the constitution or the bill
of rights. To try and be a little more clear, procedural
due process is about how, why, and when the government can take away life, liberty, and
property. Substantive Due Process is about what aspects
of life and liberty can even be taken away in the first place… Or how can they be limited in order to protect
the life and liberty of others. As an example, let’s look at one of the
most controversial fourteenth amendment cases – Roe vs. Wade. The right in question here is the right to
privacy – as I’ve stated before this isn’t written anywhere, it’s interpreted from
several amendments, but is ultimately considered to be a basic human right. Specifically in this case, the medical privacy
of the mother. However, the government also feels it has
a duty to protect the life of the fetus. So in order to balance these competing basic
human rights, the Supreme Court decided that women could only abort the pregnancy until
the “point of viability” – that is, the point at which the fetus could survive
outside of the womb. This established the substantive due process
right of a mother to seek an abortion if she chooses, and states cannot pass laws to interfere
with or restrict that right. But of course, that doesn’t stop them from
trying, this is a hot button issue, even forty years later. People, special interests, and law makers
have been trying to restrict this right by trying to redefine what viability is and when
it takes place. This is, in the end, an existential or perhaps
religious question. Some have also tried to restrict abortions
in other ways like requiring education, waiting periods, and unnecessary medical tests – many
of which have been declared unconstitutional, but many of them continue today anyway. They’ve also tried using completely different
laws to shut down or restrict access to clinics which offer women’s services, like using
the building codes included in the Americans with Disabilities Act requiring hallways to
be a certain width, or requiring doctors in women’s clinics to have hospital admitting
privileges. Whether you agree or disagree with abortion,
you should be able to see an obvious parallel and repetition of history here. The Constitution and the Supreme Court granted
and upheld a right of certain individuals, so those opposed to those people having those
rights found other ways to restrict access to that right. Whether it’s a poll tax, literacy test,
doorway width, or invasive transuterine ultrasound, in the end, these are all ways one group has
sought to restrict the constitutional rights of another. So okay, let’s take a step away from that
heavy topic and take a look at another fourteenth amendment case involving substantive due process
– Same-sex Marriage. In the Obergefell vs. Hodges case, the substantive
due process right in question was the fundamental right to marry. The Supreme Court found that this fundamental
right extends to same-sex couples for four reasons:
The right to personal choice regarding marriage is inherent in the concept of individual autonomy. It supports a two-person union unlike any
other in its importance to the committed individuals. Safeguards children and families and thus
draws meaning from related rights of childrearing, procreation, and education. Marriage is a keystone of our social order
– and there is no difference between same- and opposite-sex couples with respect to this
principle. They found that this substantive due process
right does not infringe on anyone else’s rights. Again, whether you believe that their ability
to marry infringes on or demeans your own marriage is much more of an existential and
religious question rather than a legal or constitutional one. While they didn’t argue this point, they
could have also made the case that same-sex marriage should be federally recognized under
the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the Constitution. “Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each
State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State.” – Article IV, Section 1
This is the clause that makes your Texas driver’s license valid in every other state. Or declares your Hawaiian birth certificate
as a legal document in the entire country. So it could have been argued that a Massachusetts
marriage certificate should likewise be valid in every other state. However, they didn’t have to make this point
because their Fourteenth Amendment argument was made doubly strong by another clause – Equal
Protection under the Law. To put it simply, the equal protection clause
says that if some people in a state are allowed to do it, then everyone is allowed to do it. Whether it’s black people serving on juries
(Strauder v. West Virginia) or Chinese people running businesses (Yick Wo v. Hopkins) if
some people can, then all people can. Racial tensions were still high after the
Civil War though, so allowing people to do the same things did not mean they got to do
them in the same place. In Plessy vs. Ferguson, they established the
“separate but equal” doctrine… which lasted over 50 years. It wasn’t until Brown v. Board of Education
that they decided that having people separate was inherently unequal. Even if the facilities and teachers were the
exact same quality, keeping groups separated based on race was deemed socially harmful. Therefore, thanks to the fourteenth amendment,
schools were desegregated. The Equal Protection clause is not without
controversy however, even today. The 2000 Election between Bush and Gore was
decided based on the Equal Protection Clause. The entire election rested in the hands of
Florida, and the vote was so close that state law required a mandatory recount. However, every county had different rules
on how to recount votes. Some of them required a hand recount of each
ballot, some a machine recount, some of them counted hanging chads or simply dimpled chads. The rules were all over the place. If this sounds ridiculous, you’re absolutely
right, and if you would like to know just how ridiculous it was, I recommend watching
the movie Recount. Anyway, the Supreme Court decided that this
violated the Equal Protection clause. All people in all counties should be treated
the same – all votes in all counties should be recounted in the same way. However, they also decided that there wasn’t
enough time to recount all of the votes – so all recounts should end and the original results
stand. This effectively gave Bush the presidency
and is still considered one of the court’s strangest and most controversial decisions. I bought this suit when I was 30 pounds heavier… Luckily, putting the weight back on is much
cheaper than getting a new suit! But America has always been on the path of
more freedom, more equality, and more rights for more people. Once someone wants a right that someone else
enjoys, it is simply a matter of time before they get it. The Fourteenth Amendment plays a major role
in that progressive idea. This framework for equality is already within
the Constitution, no special law or separate constitutional amendment needs to be written
in order to give people equal rights. It only takes a group willing to voice their
desire to be equal for it to eventually come to pass. We have desegregated schools, same-sex marriage,
women’s rights, and even birth-right citizenship all thanks to the Fourteenth Amendment. And who knows what future rights will be granted
or upheld based on it. So the next time someone says that we can’t
give this group equality because it would require a special set of laws or amendments
or that the Supreme Court doesn’t have the power to decide on basic human issues or you
hear about some new rules that disproportionately affects one group over another, maybe now,
you’ll know better. Hey guys if you enjoyed this video or you
learned something, go ahead and give that like button a click. If you’d like to see more from me, I put
out new videos every weekend, so go ahead and give that subscribe button some due process. I’ve finally gotten around to creating a
subreddit with the help of my friend donnythenuts, so please come join the conversation over
there. I will also be live tweeting and giving my
thoughts on the Presidential debate Monday night so make sure to follow me on Facebook
and Twitter. I’ll probably write up my thoughts and opinions
on the debate the day after and post it to the sub as well. But in the meantime if you’d like to watch
one of my older videos, how about this one?

Only registered users can comment.

  1. We've got birthright citizenship in Canada. Most new world countries do. Most old world countries don't.

  2. 1:55
    You should “know better” than to attribute the 3/5 clause in the Constitution to a problem with math or how much each black person was worth.
    If you don’t understand the reason for the 3/5 compromise then I don’t know why I should trust you to be accurate about history. If you do understand it yet still choose to attribute it to a problem with math then I don’t know why I should trust you to be honest about history.

    Let me ask you or anyone else who cares to answer:
    Do you think that each slave should have been counted as a whole person for representation in Congress?
    Why or why not?
    Please be honest.

  3. Slaves worth 3/5ths of a Person?  WRONG, Slaves were 3/5ths of One Vote… …Slaves should be worth ZERO  when voting..  Who do you think is advantaged by ANY vote that a Slave Population has?  Wish it didn't need to be said, but to avoid Emotional Distress; Captive Servitude, other then that applied to convicted criminals, should be illegal.

  4. Your early point about "Voter ID laws" is total BS … So you think minorities are too stupid to get an ID ? You need an ID to drive , fly , get on an Amtrak , get a loan , a car , buy liquor , get a welfare check , get a job , get unemployment check etc…How would you feel if someone already falsely took your vote when you got to the polls ? Come on , you are smarter than that .

  5. But what if by religion man and woman are not considered equal? In several mosques woman are separated from men..
    However this is protected by the first amendment (freedom of religion)..

    Issues are not always so black and white and red and yellow and blue..

  6. I see what this video is doing. Demonstrate your ability to groom, declare your support of women's rights, denote you're not a racist before you even meet the person in a public area. If you didn't get a date after this, it'd be a shame. Get a new shirt tho.

  7. Abortion=Murder
    Don't have sex if you don't want to get pregnant
    If you're raped and get pregnant and you don't want the baby, put the baby up for adoption

  8. How does the fourteenth amendment allow civil forfeiture? Shouldn't that violate the right to property, especially since most of the time you aren't charged with a crime in that instance?

  9. Is that the way straight men dress for a date? Gay men are so behind, or maybe I was never cute enough for a man to dress up.

  10. This is awesome. It's like Mr. Roger's Neighborhood, but Mr. K.B's neighborhood and instead of walking through a neighborhood we're getting ready for a date and we're learning about law and minorities and history..and love the channel wonderful!

  11. lol I was listening to the video (not watching) and kept hearing this clicking and was looking around trying to find out what it was and it was him clipping his nails. lol

  12. Seeing you as a Lawyer would be awesome or like a Junior Lawyer or someone that…it would be cool if posted more videos with legal info in it. 🙂

  13. 🙁 I thought you were going on a date. I (s that carryout was what I was going to say and it looks like BK, but in a suit ) lmao and just I was typing that you stated lying about date. Fun video Yayyy!

  14. What just happen?!? Super maintenance and suit up to go to that burger place I'd never name?!? Prop? but but but… Argghhh!

  15. We hear about the 14th Amendment all the time, with all the talk about birthright citizenship. And, as he says, it's cited most often of any in Supreme Court cases, probably because of the "incorporation" doctrine re the Bill of Rights. So how is it "overlooked"? And… what is the purpose of all that "preparing for his date" business?

  16. I feel like the 10th Amendment is the most important but overlooked amendment.
    "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

  17. You need ID to drive, buy alcohol, open a bank account, confirm a credit card, get a library card, etc.
    Now how exactly does having your ID to vote discriminate?
    I just verifies your identity for a fair election and prevent voter fraud.

  18. What you have to say is important. It’s well thought out and elucidated.
    And yes I am a subscriber

    HOWEVER
    You shouldn’t deliver your narratives while you are performing your ablutions
    It takes away from the seriousness of your point trivializes it.

  19. Loved the video as always very insightful. My only disagreement is voters being required to show an ID to vote I think that's perfectly normal and perfectly acceptable and appropriate. If you don't have an ID or can't identify yourself why should you have the right to vote?

  20. 6:28 You’re a brave man to shave against the grain. You must not get ingrown neck hairs like us dudes with curly and wavy hair. I haven’t shaved against the grain since I was in high school. Learned that lesson quick.

  21. Integration increases inter-group conflict, while segregation reduces it. Conflict is socially disruptive. All I am saying, is give Segregation a Chance! (Forcing integration is prevention of a basic human freedom to choose social interactions, it's tyranny.)

  22. I’m completely behind voter ID laws, absolutely…BUT, I would want to find a way to make sure that either it doesn’t affect any specific group vastly disproportionately, or that it doesn’t affect anyone disproportionately at all. There must be a problem somewhere which accounts for why minorities don’t have some form of ID…I mean if you need an ID to drive, make use of many social services, bank accounts, many credit cards, loans, etc…you’d think most people would have some kind of official ID usable at the voting booth. Whatever the problem is, I’d rather fix THAT problem and have voter ID laws than just not have those voter ID laws at all. I personally saw some pretty flagrant voter fraud when I was doing community service in high school…it was…unnervingly simple and easy tbh.

  23. I honestly wish I had a history teacher like you in high school. I'm 19 and still trying to get federal and to go into college for a trade (I can't get it myself despite living alone because my mom hasn't paid her taxes) so my way of getting information from others outside of reading has to be through the internet and man, do you make learning fun! CX

  24. another insightful report A+ . but the title was misleading . the most important and overlooked amendment is the 10th amendment . after having a moment to think about it . the ramifications will become clear . you clearly have the insight to make a good report on it , so it would make a good subject for your next report . I am confident you have the chops to do it correctly .

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