What specific rights are “basic or essential”?

 

The Court has answered that question in a long series of cases in which it has held that most (but not all) of the protections in the Bill of Rights are also covered by the 14th Amendment’s Due Process Clause, and so apply against the States.  In deciding those cases, the Court has engaged in what has come to be called the process of incorporation.  It has incorporated—merged or combined—most of the guarantees in the Bill of Rights into the 14th Amendment’s Due Process Clause.

 

The Court began that historic process in Gitlow v. New York in 1925.  That landmark case involved Benjamin Gitlow, a communist, who had been convicted in the State courts of criminal anarchy.  He had made several speeches and published a pamphlet calling for the violent overthrow of government in this country.

 

On appeal, the Supreme Court upheld Gitlow’s conviction and the State law under which he had been tried.  In deciding the case, however, the Court made this crucial point:  Freedom of speech and press, which the 1st Amendment says cannot be denied by the National Government, are also “among the fundamental personal rights and liberties protected by the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment from impairment [harm] by the states.”

 

In the 1960’s, the Court extended the scope of the 14th Amendment’s Due Process Clause even  further.  Due process now covers nearly all the guarantees set out in the Bill of Rights.  In effect, the Supreme court has “nationalized” them by holding that the Constitution guarantees them against the States through the 14th Amendment. 

 

Question:  How does the 14th Amendment now cover nearly all the guarantees set out in the Bill of Rights?

 

  1.  Read question and turn into an incomplete statement___________________________________________________________
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  2. Underline important words in the reading.
  3. List three important details about the passage that answer the question.
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  4. Write a detailed answer to the question beginning with the incomplete sentence started above.  Answer in two –three sentences.

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