The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, ratified in 1868, prohibits state governments from denying|
citizens the “equal protection of the laws.” Although precisely what the framers of the amendment meant by this equal
protection clause remains unclear, all interpreters agree that the framers’ immediate objective was to provide a constitutional
warrant for the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which guaranteed the citizenship of all persons born in the United States and subject to
United States jurisdiction. This declaration, which was echoed in the text of the Fourteenth Amendment, was designed
primarily to counter the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dred Scott v. Sandford that Black people in the United States could be
denied citizenship. The act was vetoed by President Andrew Johnson, who argued that the Thirteenth Amendment, which
abolished slavery, did not provide Congress with the authority to extend citizenship and equal protection to the freed slaves.
Although Congress promptly overrode Johnson’s veto, supporters of the act sought to ensure its constitutional foundations with
the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment.
The broad language of the amendment strongly suggests that its framers were proposing to write into the Constitution not
a laundry listof specific civil rights but a principle of equal citizenship that forbids organized society from treating any individual
as a member of an inferior class. Yet for the first eight decades of the amendment’s existence, the Supreme Court’s
interpretation of the amendment betrayed this ideal of equality. In the Civil Rights Cases of 1883, for example, the Court
invented the “state action” limitation, which asserts that “private” decisions by owners of public accommodations and other
commercial businesses to segregate their facilities are insulated from the reach of the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of
equal protection under the law.
After the Second World War, a judicial climate more hospitable to equal protection claims culminated in the Supreme
Court’s ruling in Brown v. Board of Education that racially segregated schools violated the equal protection clause of the
Fourteenth Amendment. Two doctrines embraced by the Supreme Court during this period extended the amendment’s reach.
First, the Court required especially strict scrutiny of legislation that employed a “suspect classification,” meaning discrimination
against a group on grounds that could be construed as racial. This doctrine has broadened the application of the Fourteenth
Amendment to other, nonracial forms of discrimination, for while some justices have refused to find any legislative classification
other than race to be constitutionally disfavored, most have been receptive to arguments that at least some nonracial
discriminations, sexual discrimination in particular, are “suspect” and deserve this heightened scrutiny by the courts. Second,
the Court relaxed the state action limitation on the Fourteenth Amendment, bringing new forms of private conduct within the
1. Which of the following best expresses the author's attitude with regard to the Supreme Court's interpretations of the
Fourteenth Amendment prior to the Second World War? (新 G 題)
(A) Contempt for the Court's cold rationality
(B) Disapproval of the Court's subversion of the amendment
(C) Skepticism concerning the appropriateness of the Court's close reading of the amendment
(D) Satisfaction that the Court acted with appropriate intentions with regard to the amendment
(E) Bitterness about the irreparable harm done to civil rights by the Court
2. The author implies that the Fourteenth Amendment might not have been enacted if (新 G 題)
(A) Congress’ authority with regard to legislating civil rights had not been challenged
(B) the framers had anticipated the Supreme Court’s ruling in Brown v. Board of Education
(C) the framers had believed that it would be used in deciding cases of discrimination involving non-racial groups
(D) most state governments had been willing to protect citizens’ civil rights
(E) its essential elements had not been implicit in the Thirteenth Amendment
3. The author implies that the actions of the Supreme Court in the years immediately following the passage of the Fourteenth
Amendment demonstrate that the Court at that time
(A) was frustrated by the lack of detail in the amendment
(B) intentionally rejected the broad possibilities for advancements in civil rights that the amendment offered
(C) applied the amendment in areas that the framers would have considered inappropriate
(D) disagreed with President Andrew Johnson about the need for the amendment
(E) provided the foundation on which subsequent Supreme Courts were able to expand civil rights
4. According to the passage, which of the following specifically provided for the citizenship of persons born in the United
(A) The Civil Rights Act of 1866
(B) The Thirteenth Amendment
(C) Dred Scott v. Sandford
(D) Brown v. Board of Education
(E) The Civil Rights Cases of 1883
5. Which of the following best describes the main idea of the passage?
(A) By presenting a list of specific rights, framers of the Fourteenth Amendment were attempting to provide a
constitutional basis for broad judicial protection of the principle of equal citizenship.
(B) Only after the Supreme Court adopted the suspect classification approach to reviewing potentially discriminatory
legislation was the applicability of the Fourteenth Amendment extended to include sexual discrimination.
(C) Not until after the Second World War did the Supreme Court begin to interpret the Fourteenth Amendment in a
manner consistent with the principle of equal citizenship that it expresses.
(D) Interpreters of the Fourteenth Amendment have yet to reach consensus with regard to what its framers meant by the
equal protection clause.
(E) Although the reluctance of judges to extend the reach of the Fourteenth Amendment to nonracial discrimination has
betrayed the principle of equal citizenship, the Supreme Court’s use of the state action limitation to insulate private
activity from the amendment’s reach has been more harmful.
6. The passage suggests that the principal effect of the state action limitation was to
(A) allow some discriminatory practices to continue unimpeded by the Fourteenth Amendment
(B) influence the Supreme Court’s ruling in Brown v, Board of Education
(C) provide expanded guidelines describing prohibited actions
(D) prohibit states from enacting laws that violated the intent of the Civil Rights Act of 1866
(E) shift to state governments the responsibility for enforcement of laws prohibiting discriminatory practices
7. The author’s position regarding the intent of the framers of the Fourteenth Amendment would be most seriously
undermined if which of the following were true?
(A) The framers had anticipated state action limitations as they are described in the passage.
(B) The framers had merely sought to prevent discriminatory acts by federal officials.
(C) The framers were concerned that the Civil Rights Act of 1866 would be overturned by the Supreme Court.
(D) The framers were aware that the phrase “equal protection of the laws” had broad implications.
(E) The framers believed that racial as well as non-racial forms of discrimination were unacceptable.
8. According to the passage, the original proponents of the Fourteenth Amendment were primarily concerned with (新 G 題)
(A) detailing the rights afforded by the principle of equal citizenship
(B) providing support in the Constitution for equal protection for all citizens of the United States
(C) closing a loophole that could be used to deny individuals the right to sue for enforcement of their civil rights
(D) asserting that the civil rights protected by the Constitution included nonracial discrimination as well as racial
(E) granting state governments broader discretion in interpreting the Civil Rights Act of 1866
9. According to the passage, which of the following most accurately indicates the sequence of the events listed below?
I. Civil Rights Act of 1866
II. Dred Scott v. Sandford
III. Fourteenth Amendment
IV. Veto by President Johnson
(A) I, II, III, IV
(B) I, IV, II, III
(C) I, IV, III, II
(D) II, I, IV, III
(E) III, II, I, IV
10. Which of the following can be inferred about the second of the two doctrines referred to in the passage?
(A) It caused some justices to rule that all types of discrimination are prohibited by the Constitution.
(B) It shifted the focus of the Supreme Court from racial to nonracial discrimination.
(C) It narrowed the concern of the Supreme Court to legislation that employed a suspect classification.
(D) It caused legislators who were writing new legislation to reject language that could be construed as permitting racial
(E) It made it more difficult for commercial businesses to practice racial discrimination.