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5 Supreme Court Rulings Based on the 14th Amendment

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The “Reconstruction amendments” are three key changes to the U.S. Constitution ratified during Reconstruction between 1865 and 1870 that address the way that slavery’s demise reshaped America’s legal system and redefined what it meant to be free and equal following the Civil War.

Of these three amendments—the 13th, 14th and 15th— the 14th Amendment appears less profound in its implications for the way we lead our lives than either of the other two, one abolishing slavery and the other guaranteeing the rights of those formerly enslaved. But the 14th Amendment’s wording has emerged as a linchpin of key civil rights cases that have shaped our world. The myriad ways that jurists have interpreted it means that the 14th Amendment also has become the focus of more litigation than any other part of the constitution.

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