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Citizenship is a matter of unquestionable but ambiguous constitutional significance. Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment begins by announcing, "[a]ll persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside." Only after this framing announcement does Section 1 declare the protections of the privileges or immunities, due process, and equal protection clauses. The few academics who focus on this first sentence maintain that it is a source or a framing mechanism for the recognition of individual rights. Professor Kenneth Karst, the leading contemporary theorist,argues that the Fourteenth Amendment's citizenship clause, read with the balance of Section 1, prohibits the state from treating members of socially stigmatized groups as outsiders to the law or from denying them "full inclusion in the public life of the community." Karst's body of work presents an impressive case for rights of inclusion as entailed in the citizenship clause.

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