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Fourteen is a significant number. In sports, Ernie Banks, Bob Cousy, Oscar Robertson, and Pete Rose all wore 14. In music, Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 14 is one of his most famous. In love, the 14th of February is always Valentine’s Day. In poetry, a sonnet is a 14 line poem. But nowhere is 14 more significant than in our Constitution because the 14th Amendment is one of, if not, the most important amendments in terms of our rights.
The 14th Amendment, adopted July 28th, 1868, granted citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States” (including slaves) and required states to provide equal protection to all citizens. Since it's adoption, the 14th Amendment has been cited over 337,000 by U.S. Courts including nearly 2800 references by the U.S. Supreme Court, more than any other provision in the U.S. Constitution.
Since its ratification over 150 years ago, the 14th Amendment certainly has left an indelible mark on the landscape of our country:
In light of this year’s presidential election, a 14th Amendment discussion would not be complete without analyzing how equal protection has affected voting rights. Because there was no right to vote enumerated in the Constitution, this right has been judicially created through the 14th Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause. Through the use of the Equal Protection Clause, the Supreme Court has created the right for a person to vote and has further ensured that one’s vote has equal power to another’s vote:
What do the next 100 years hold in store for 14th Amendment? The trending of equal protection jurisprudence and litigation could signal infinite groups with constitutional claims for “heightened scrutiny” against laws that intentionally discriminate against them. For example, the 14th Amendment is being cited amid the debate over North Carolina’s HB2 “bathroom bill.” The 14th Amendment also is being included in the conversations stirred by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump when he said he would overturn the “law” that grants automatic citizenship to people born in the United States. Whatever is in store, it is safe to say the 14th Amendment will continue to be cited as an example of why the number 14 is significant.