Many prominent Ohioans have helped shape the foundation of the United States. You may not know that an Ohio congressman was the main writer of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Bingham, a prominent lawyer, judge, and Ohio congressman served as a judge
advocate in the Abraham Lincoln assassination trial and as a prosecutor in
Andrew Johnson’s impeachment trials. He died in Cadiz, Ohio in 1900.
Although the Fourteenth Amendment has
five separate sections, the words most often quoted come from section one:
State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or
immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any
person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to
any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
This language has been interpreted
many times by the U. S. Supreme Court in landmark cases such as Plessy v.
v. Board of Education, and Roe v. Wade. And recently in Obergefell
v. Hodges, the court relied on the amendment in a 5-4 decision that
guaranteed same-sex couples the right to marry.
Amendment was passed by Congress on June
13, 1866, and ratified on July 9, 1868. The words that John Bingham
helped write have great vitality, living on nearly 150 years later.