Cases don’t just magically appear in the Supreme Court. Except in rare circumstances, they begin as local disputes, sometimes working their way up through District Courts. By the time a case comes before the highest court in the land, it’s often been going on in some form for several years.
After Everson v. Board of Education (1947), fifteen years passed before the next important ‘religion and public schools’ case made its way to the Supreme Court. Whereas Everson dealt with transportation, Engel v. Vitale (1962) addressed the role of the supernatural in the classroom itself.
What A Saturday Morning. Here's hoping we can have similar impact in social and political circles.
Prior to the 14th Amendment, the protections offered by the Bill of Rights applied primarily to the Federal Government. While most States had similar protections in their own constitutions, these were inconsistent and locally interpreted.
The 14th Amendment changed all of that, in ways neither immediate nor obvious. Passed in 1868 as part of the ‘Reconstruction Amendments,’ its initial intent was to guarantee full and equal citizenship for Freedmen – newly freed Black Americans.
It reads, in part:
The U.S. Constitution was written as a replacement for the Articles of Confederation – our first effort at writing a broad set of laws by which to govern the nation. The Articles had guaranteed the States almost complete sovereignty and absolute independence from one another – a great idea in theory, but not as workable as one might hope in practice.