Law professor prompts Ohio to ratify 14th Amendment

[JURIST] The Ohio General Assembly Thursday enacted a proposal advanced by law professor Jack Chin and a group of students at the University of Cincinnati College of Law [official website] to ratify the Fourteenth Amendment - one hundred thirty-five years late. Learn more about the Fourteenth Amendment Ratification Project. Although the vote was unanimous in the Senate and 94-1 in the House, only closed-door arm-twisting by the Republican leadership suppressed a revolt by conservatives who objected that the amendment was responsible for Roe v. Wade and the school prayer cases. A Republican-controlled legislature had ratified the Amendment in 1867, but after the voters refused to extend the franchise to nonwhites and control of the legislature passed to Democrats, the legislature rescinded the ratification before the necessary 3/4ths of the states had acted. Jack Chin reflected on his ratification experience Saturday for JURIST:

I think the 14th Amendment is the most important law in American history, so working on its ratification has been the high point of my legal career so far. The best part was hearing legislators on the floor of the House and Senate say how meaningful it was for them to vote for this Amendment as lawmakers, when in 1868 they would not even have been allowed to vote because of their race or sex or both. Working on this with students was also great fun, and I think drafting testimony and presenting it to the Ohio legislature gave the students more insight into 14th Amendment and the legislative process than would have writing an exam and talking about it with me. We felt that it was important for Ohio to formally ratify even though the 14th Amendment was already in effect. Extremist groups all over the Internet claim that there is no 14th Amendment, in part because Ohio rescinded its ratification in 1868; we wanted to help put an end to that.
Ohio's vote means that every state in the Union as of 1868 either unconditionally ratified the Amendment at the time it became law or has done so since.

 

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