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The Fourteenth Amendment was ratified in 1868, during the congressional Reconstruction era. The amendment’s most significant provision—“No 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.”—created the potential for two interpretations. It seemed to some that Congress...