On February 8, 2024, the United States Supreme Court will hear arguments in Trump v. Anderson: whether a state (Colorado) can remove a presidential candidate from a primary ballot under Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution. The former President is appealing the decision of the Colorado Supreme Court that found “Mr. Trump’s actions before and on Jan. 6, 2021, constituted engaging in insurrection, and that courts had the authority to enforce Section 3 against a person whom Congress had not specifically designated.”
It’s not the first time the Fourteenth Amendment has been involved in a presidential election: in 2000, the majority decision in Bush v. Gore held that the equal protection clause in Section 1 required the recount of the “hanging chad” be stopped, effectively awarding George W. Bush the presidency.
The scope of US Supreme Court decisions resting on portions of the Fourteenth Amendment is quite broad and encompasses foundational issues of American civil rights and liberties, including citizenship, marriage, reproductive choice, LGBTQ+ rights, voting rights, and the rights of those accused of crimes. As one of the Reconstruction Amendments meant to modify (or in some cases, create) a framework for the post-Civil War federal government, the Fourteenth came to include much of what was needed in a “new” America.
The scholarship of the Constitution, and of the individual amendments, is well-represented in JSTOR; this annotation of the Fourteenth Amendment is only a small sample of what can be found. As always with Annotations, all linked articles are free to read and access.
The red J indicates free access to the linked research on JSTOR.
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.
Representatives shall be apportioned among the several states according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each state, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the executive and judicial officers of a state, or the members of the legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such state, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such state.
No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.
The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any state shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
[Text taken from: https://constitution.congress.gov/constitution/amendment-14/]