Celebrates 150th Anniversary of Its Ratification to U.S. Constitution
TRENTON – The Senate today adopted Senator Shirley K. Turner’s resolution commemorating the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment to United States Constitution.
This joint resolution, SJR-67, celebrates the second of three constitutional amendments known as the Reconstruction Amendments. The Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth amendments, ratified between 1865 and 1870 abolished slavery (13th), guaranteed all persons born in the United States or naturalized their right to citizenship and the equal protection of the law (14th), and affirmed the right of every citizen to vote no matter their “race, color, or previous condition of servitude” (15th). The Fourteenth amendment was viciously opposed by former Confederate States that ratified it under the threat of having no representation in Congress.
“The Fourteenth Amendment leaps out of the Constitution as a profound reckoning of our nation’s inhuman treatment of and savage disregard for the innate rights of men, women and children who had suffered the horror of slavery,” said Senator Turner (D-Hunterdon/Mercer). “It deserves to be honored and celebrated on this important anniversary not only because it granted citizenship to former slaves that had only recently been freed 150 years ago, but also because it still serves as the foundation for the living history of ongoing civil rights legislation that continues to liberate Americans today.”
While the Reconstruction era and its spirit of hope and progress was abruptly ended by the adoption of Jim Crow laws across the nation, the three constitutional amendments, especially the Fourteenth, paved the way for many of the Supreme Court’s landmark decisions in the 20th century.
“Major decisions of the Supreme Court have been based on the Fourteenth Amendments, including Brown v. Board of Education which desegregated public schools in 1954, Loving v. Virginia which repealed State prohibitions on interracial marriages in 1967, and Roe v. Wade which deemed abortion a fundamental right in 1973,” said Senator Turner. “The Fourteenth Amendment transformed the U.S. Constitution to one that protects fundamental rights from state as well as federal government abuse. On its anniversary, it’s proper for us to pause and be grateful that this Amendment stands firm in protecting all of us.”
Copies of this resolution, as filed with the Secretary of State, would be transmitted to the National Constitution Center.
The joint resolution was approved by the Senate with a 38-0 vote.