The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was adopted on July 9, 1868, as one of the Reconstruction Amendments.
Often considered one of the most consequential amendments, it addresses citizenship rights and equal protection under the law and was proposed in response to issues related to former slaves following the American Civil War. The amendment was bitterly contested, particularly by the states of the defeated Confederacy, which were forced to ratify it in order to regain representation in Congress.
The amendment, particularly its first section, is one of the most litigated parts of the Constitution, forming the basis for landmark Supreme Court decisions such as Brown v. Board of Education regarding racial segregation, Roe v. Wade regarding abortion, Bush v. Gore regarding the 2000 presidential election, and Obergefell v. Hodges regarding same-sex marriage. The amendment limits the actions of all state and local officials, and also those acting on behalf of such officials.
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