June 28 … History


1868 – The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was declared in effect. The amendment guaranteed due process of law.

Following the Civil War, Congress submitted to the states three amendments as part of its Reconstruction program to guarantee equal civil and legal rights to black citizens. The major provision of the 14th amendment was to grant citizenship to “All persons born or naturalized in the United States,” thereby granting citizenship to former slaves. Another equally important provision was the statement that “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.” The right to due process of law and equal protection of the law now applied to both the Federal and state governments. On June 16, 1866, the House Joint Resolution proposing the 14th amendment to the Constitution was submitted to the states.

On July 28, 1868, the 14th amendment was declared, in a certificate of the Secretary of State, ratified by the necessary 28 of the 37 States, and became part of the supreme law of the land.

Congressman John A. Bingham of Ohio, the primary author of the first section of the 14th amendment, intended that the amendment also nationalize the Federal Bill of Rights by making it binding upon the states. Senator Jacob Howard of Michigan, introducing the amendment, specifically stated that the privileges and immunities clause would extend to the states “the personal rights guaranteed and secured by the first eight amendments.” Historians disagree on how widely Bingham’s and Howard’s views were shared at the time in the Congress, or across the country in general. No one in Congress explicitly contradicted their view of the Amendment, but only a few members said anything at all about its meaning on this issue. For many years, the Supreme Court ruled that the Amendment did not extend the Bill of Rights to the states.

Not only did the 14th amendment fail to extend the Bill of Rights to the states; it also failed to protect the rights of black citizens. One legacy of Reconstruction was the determined struggle of black and white citizens to make the promise of the 14th amendment a reality. Citizens petitioned and initiated court cases, Congress enacted legislation, and the executive branch attempted to enforce measures that would guard all citizens’ rights. While these citizens did not succeed in empowering the 14th amendment during the Reconstruction, they effectively articulated arguments and offered dissenting opinions that would be the basis for change in the 20th century.

(Information excerpted from Teaching With Documents [Washington, DC: The National Archives and Records Administration and the National Council for the Social Studies, 1998] p. 40.)

14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: Civil Rights (1868documents.gov


New state rules will finally reverse the trend toward less overtime pay. “It’s about time…”

New state rules will finally reverse the trend toward less overtime pay. And that will be good for everyone.

by Nicole Macri
“Washington state just took a big step to bring back the 40-hour workweek: The Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) has released a bold plan to restore overtime protections to hundreds of thousands of salaried workers in our state. Under L&I’s plan, workers paid less than 2.5 times the minimum wage (about $70,000 per year) will get overtime pay when they work overtime hours, regardless of their job title, and regardless of whether they’re salaried or hourly.

This is a huge step forward that will return millions of hours to hundreds of thousands of underpaid and overworked people in our state. It restores the promise of one of the most fundamental workplace rights: the right to a 40-hour workweek, with time-and-a-half pay when you work additional hours.

It’s about time…”

“As a state legislator and a nonprofit employer, I’m proud to support our state’s bold plan to restore overtime protections. It’s time to bring back the promise of the 40-hour workweek.”
— Nicole Macri, State Representative (43rd District), and Deputy Director, Downtown Emergency Services Center


Hundreds of thousands of underpaid and overworked people in our state ~ Add your voice to restore overtime rights!


Washington State Department of Labor & Industries has released a bold plan to restore overtime rights for hundreds of thousands of salaried workers in our state. Under the state’s plan, if you’re paid less than 2.5 times the minimum wage (about $70,000/year) you’ll get overtime pay when you work overtime hours, no matter what job title your boss gives you, and regardless of whether you’re salaried or hourly. The updated rules would phase in over the next several years.

This would be a huge step forward for workers’ rights in our state, and whether you work a salaried job, an hourly job, or you’re retired, we need your voice to back it up!

Official public comment is an important part of the process, and the state is going to be carefully tracking the number of comments they get on each side. We made it easy — just answer a few quick questions to build your own comment and let L&I know that you support restoring overtime rights.



1998 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that employers are always potentially liable for supervisor’s sexual misconduct toward an employee.

june 26


WASHINGTON (CNN) — In a ruling that makes employers easier targets for lawsuits, the Supreme Court said Friday that companies may be held liable for sexual harassment by supervisors.
The justices ruled 7-2 in the case of Beth Ann Faragher, a former lifeguard who alleges she was harassed by two of her supervisors. The court ruling allows her to proceed with her lawsuit against the city of Boca Raton, Florida.
In the majority opinion the court said that employers always are potentially liable for a supervisor’s sexual misconduct toward an employee.
To successfully defend themselves, the ruling said, employers would have to show they “exercised reasonable care to prevent or correct promptly any sexually harassing behavior” and that “the employee unreasonably failed to take advantage of any preventive or corrective opportunities provided by the employer or to avoid harm otherwise.”
Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia dissented. Writing for the two, Thomas said the court “manufactures a rule that employers are vicariously liable if supervisors create a sexually hostile work environment, subject to an affirmative defense that the court barely attempts to define.”
Thomas objected that the court’s rule “applies even if the employer has a policy against sexual harassment, the employee knows about the policy and the employee never informs anyone in a position of authority about the supervisor’s conduct.”

1996 – The U.S. Supreme Court ordered the Virginia Military Institute to admit women or forgo state support ~ United States v. Virginia, 518 U.S. 515 (1996)

june 26

No.94-1941. Argued January 17, 1996-Decided June 26,1996*
Virginia Military Institute (VMI) is the sole single-sex school among Virginia’s public institutions of higher learning. VMI’s distinctive mission is to produce “citizen-soldiers,” men prepared for leadership in civilian life and in military service. Using an “adversative method” of training not available elsewhere in Virginia, VMI endeavors to instill physical and mental discipline in its cadets and impart to them a strong moral code. Reflecting the high value alumni place on their VMI training, VMI has the largest per-student endowment of all public undergraduate institutions in the Nation. The United States sued Virginia and VMI, alleging that VMI’s exclusively male admission policy violated the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. The District Court ruled in VMI’s favor. The Fourth Circuit reversed and ordered Virginia to remedy the constitutional violation. In response, Virginia proposed a parallel program for women: Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership (VWIL), located at Mary Baldwin College, a private liberal arts school for women. The District Court found that Virginia’s proposal satisfied the Constitution’s equal protection requirement, and the Fourth Circuit affirmed. The appeals court deferentially reviewed Virginia’s plan and determined that provision of single-gender educational options was a legitimate objective. Maintenance of single-sex programs, the court concluded, was essential to that objective. The court recognized, however, that its analysis risked bypassing equal protection scrutiny, so it fashioned an additional test, asking whether VMI and VWIL students would receive “substantively comparable” benefits. Although the Court of Appeals acknowledged that the VWIL degree lacked the historical benefit and prestige of a VMI degree, the court nevertheless found the educational opportunities at the two schools sufficiently comparable.
1. Parties who seek to defend gender-based government action must demonstrate an “exceedingly persuasive justification” for that action. E. g., Mississippi Univ. for Women v. Hogan, 458 U. S. 718,724. Nei-
*Together with No. 94-2107, Virginia et al. v. United States, also on certiorari to the same court.