Whose Right Is It?: The Fourteenth Amendment and the Fight for Equality

Holt. Jun. 2024. 240p. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9781250225276.
Gr 9 Up–The Fourteenth Amendment comes alive with a modern interpretation and in-depth analysis. The book is divided into three sections: the Constitution, the Supreme Court, and the People. The first section provides background on the drafting and passage of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. It includes post–Civil War events that limited the rights of freedmen, leading Republican lawmakers to pass the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868, which guaranteed equal protection under the law. A quick description of each of the amendment’s clauses, with the original language and the lawmakers’ intentions, is provided. The second section illustrates how the amendment’s original intent was severely limited by the Supreme Court, which enabled its use to enrich robber barons and erode labor rights. Following World War I, the amendment restored individuals’ rights. Section three explores the amendment’s role in landmark cases that ended segregation, expanded voting rights, and legalized interracial marriage. Throughout the book, text boxes explain the judicial system and legal procedures. This tale of legal topsy-turvy perfectly portrays how our laws can remain unchanged yet be interpreted differently as legal theory and courts change. Back matter includes an index, bibliography, and source notes.
VERDICT Hand this exceptional overview to future constitutional law students.

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