Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said it's particularly appropriate to highlight the fourteenth amendment in 2017
Madigan gave a Law Day speech to the McLean County Bar Association meeting at Illinois State University in Normal.
She said this restoration era addition to the Constitution affects everything from defendants rights, to school segregation.
"The most celebrated as well as the most controversial Supreme Court cases you will see at their heart are really fourteenth amendment cases," said Madigan.
Madigan also said many of the disputes rising in national debate during the young Trump administration in immigration and health care will likely be decided on fourteenth amendment grounds.
That part of the constitution came about to force reform by southern states after the Civil War. They were forced to approve the amendment before they could regain representation in Congress.
"I don't think that the Republicans who were the ones moving the fourteenth amendment through Congress at the time recognized or realized the scope or the importance that the amendment would come to have in our country," said Madigan.
In addition to equal protection under the law to all citizens, the amendment also addresses "due process", which prevents citizens from being illegally deprived of life, liberty, or property.
The fourteenth amendment also figured prominently in civil rights era cases, including school desegregation, which limited the power of state and local governments.
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