Interpreting the Constitution: Is the Intent of the Framers Controlling? If not, what is?, 19 Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy 9 (1995)
In Brown v. Board ofEducation, decided in 1954, the Supreme
Court held that public school segregation deprived black pupils
of "equal educational opportunities" in violation of the Equal
Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment: "No State shall
... deny to any person within itsjurisdiction the equal protection
of the laws." In reaching this conclusion, however, the Court
said nothing about whether the Framers of the Fourteenth
Amendment-the Congress that drafted the Amendment in
1866 and the States that ratified it in 1866-69-intended to outlaw
segregation in the public schools; instead, the Court treated their
intent as irrelevant, observing that "we cannot tum the clock
back" to the era of the Framers.
Date of Authorship for this Version
Bittker, Boris I., "Interpreting the Constitution: Is the Intent of the Framers Controlling? If not, what is?" (1995). Faculty Scholarship Series. 2314.