The Fourteenth Amendment addresses many aspects of American citizenship, including the rights of citizens. The most commonly used--and frequently litigated--phrase in the amendment is "equal protection of the laws." This phrase has figured prominently in a plethora of landmark cases in U.S. history dealing with a variety of issues, including Brown v. Board of Education (racial discrimination), Roe v. Wade (reproductive rights), Bush v. Gore (election recounts), Reed v. Reed (gender discrimination), University of California v. Bakke (racial quotas in college admissions), and Obergefell v. Hodges (gay marriage).
This book closely examines the history and development of the Equal Protection Clause and details the many ways in which it has shaped U.S. history. Selections show how the equal protection clause came into being in the post-Civil War era; feature seminal Supreme Court decisions on the nature and extent of applications of the equal protection clause in American life and law through the years; and include documents that consider the impact that the equal protection clause has had and may have on American society in the 21st century.