The Power Line Show, Ep. 79: Revisiting the 14th Amendment

Did you know that this month marks the 150th anniversary of the enactment of the 14th Amendment? (Actually the date of final passage out of Congress was July 9, 1868.) I am surprised that with the confirmation hearings of Judge Kavanaugh hard upon us, there hasn’t been more notice of this anniversary in the mainstream media by all of the usual suspects, if for no other reason than as a peg to hurl another crazy attack at Kavanaugh.

Needless to say, the 14th Amendment’s “equal protection” clause has been abused perhaps more than any other part of the Constitution by the “living constitutionalists” among us. In fact for many liberals, like one-time University of Chicago Law lecturer Barack Obama, the equal protection clause is the Constitution. (I discuss Obama’s abuse of the 14th Amendment in this episode.)

In recognition of this anniversary this week I welcome back to the show the pseudonymous mystery guest from last week, “Professor X,” who knows more about the 14th Amendment than the Power Line crew has forgotten. In this first of a two-part series (the second half will appear next week), “Prof. X” and I take you inside the classroom to untangle the “equal protection” clause—what it was intended by the Congress that wrote the Amendment, and how it has been twisted by modern liberal jurisprudence. In particular we’ll talk over how the Supreme Court totally botched the equal protection clause in the famous Brown decision.

There’s more to Section 1 of the 14th Amendment than just the equal protection clause, and this week and next week we’ll go through them in some detail. And “Prof. X” will get a new moniker going forward at the end of this show, in large part because it is a mistake to confuse our great Prof. X with the mutant telepath Prof. X from the Marvel Comic Universe. (I plead ignorance to essential details of what our Prof. X calls the “dork forest” of pop culture. Though I do think maybe there is a parallel between constitutional originalists and living constitutionalists and the unending DC versus Marvel debate.) You’ll just have to listen to find out what her new moniker is!

Meanwhile, before I include the usual reminders of how to listen to and support the show, an announcement of a major opportunity! Our sponsor for the last several months,, has ended its advertising run with us, and as of the moment we are without a sponsor for the show. If you’re interested in being a sponsor, send us a note to our comment line, and we’ll put you in touch with our partners at Ricochet who can provide all the details. The rates are very reasonable, and you could sponsor as few as one single episode—there’s no requirement for a long-term commitment. Heck, you could even be a “sponsor” for a special birthday or anniversary shout out to a loved one or friend!

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