Hello dear reader(s)!
So if you are still one of the people who think that the US Civil War was about State’s Rights and slavery, you might want to stop reading now because there is no hope you will understand this post.
In case you just don’t know but have been told that lie…it is a lie. The states themselves, in their official secession declarations explicitly said it was about slavery. Look it up.
Basically, and I hate to break this to you, the 14th amendment is an amendment to the Constitution. It is a change to the Constitution. It was passed by both houses of Congress, and ratified by the states. It is the law of the land. If you support the 2nd amendment, and do not support the 14th, you are a hypocrite. You can not claim to support the Constitution if you do not support the changes to it made under the framework laid out by the Constitution itself. It is that simple.
The 14th, for all intents and purposes, can completely change the 10th amendment if all states are not providing equal protection under the law.
Article 4 said a citizen of one state was entitled to the rights as a citizen of any other state. Then the Bill of Rights with amendments 1 through 10 changed that by saying the federal government only had the powers it was explicitly granted under the rest of the Constitution. The 10th (The amendment cited by supporters of State’s Rights) said the remaining powers would be granted to the states or the people. Yet, the State’s Rights supporters do not seem to read the “or the people” portion of that amendment. The states used the 10th as a power grab and certainly didn’t advocate for any direct democracy in those other areas. At any rate, the 10th allowed the states to nullify Article 4 in all practicality, unless it was under a power granted to the Federal Government.
When the Confederacy began to secede after the election of President Lincoln, under nothing more than the fear he would abolish slavery, many people invoked the 10th amendment and if Lincoln had actually tried to abolish slavery without an amendment to the Constitution had the states remained in the Union, it likely would have been overruled by the Supreme Court on the support of the 10th. Lincoln knew this and stated that he was not going to do that, but would not admit new states to the union who did not ban slavery. His hope was that it would die out as free states became the majority.
Some people cite the theory of nullification as justification for the Confederate secession, however, that theory a) wouldn’t have come into play since the federal government had not moved to abolish slavery in slave sates, and b) had never been upheld in any federal court because the Constitution very specifically gives the Supreme Court the power to determine whether a law is Constitutional or not under Article 3, and the Supremacy Clause also supports that.
The Confederacy did more to end slavery than the Union, and did more to end the overwhelming power of State’s Rights by seceding before the federal government made any attempts to abolish slavery in the slave states. Then, they further screwed up their “cause” by attacking a federal fort that had been established when there was a Untied States of America. Since the right of secession was not granted under the Constitution, and the attack on Fort Sumter now allowed the Untied States to act under its Constitutional authority to defend the nation, the Civil War began and allowed Lincoln to consider the states as hostile territories under US occupation, allowing him to emancipate the slaves in those areas.
Then when the decimated Confederate states were invited back into the Union, there were conditions attached, which is a Constitutional authority of the federal government (Article 4, Section 3) since they have the say in determining who they let into the Union and what conditions must be met. In doing so, the conditions were set for a Constitutional amendment abolishing slavery, and also granting equal protection under the law.
In other words, the 14th amendment essentially nullified the 10th, in cases where that state law was giving more rights to some citizens than to others. States still have rights to make laws, but not to discriminate against their own citizens.
In the coming days, you will hear State’s Rights being brought up a lot. In Texas, the Attorney General is already ordering clerks to refuse marriage licenses to same-sex couples. His reasoning is that states make marriage laws, and not the federal government.
However, with the Supremacy Clause, Article 3 of the Constitution, and the 14th amendment, there is simply no case for Texas. The coming conflicts (hopefully in the courts), will once again be an attempt by those who wish to discriminate against people hiding behind a theory of State’s Rights. But, as is clear, states only have the right to make laws when they provide equal protection.
The 14th is clear.
“Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
By allowing one group to the legal benefits of marriage, and denying it to another, the states are in violation of the Constitution.