Dobbs, Natural Law, and the Original Intent of the 14th Amendment

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The Supreme Court rightfully overturned the horrible Roe vs. Wade precedent in Dobbs. However, the Court made a significant error in overturning Roe on federalism grounds alone when it should have restored the original intent of the 14th Amendment by upholding the truth that the personhood of all humanity must be recognized, including the unborn. 14th Amendment was enacted to fulfill Abraham Lincoln’s vision for the American Republic by requiring the states to respect and protect the individual rights recognized by the Declaration.

Justice Alito’s opinion correctly finds that Roe vs. Wade was based on faulty legal reasoning and a false interpretation of history. However, the opinion still used the judicially invented historical rights analysis, which is based on the presuppositions that the rights come from the state and are determined by the federal courts. The Founding Fathers’ grounded the Republic on the truth that rights come from each individual’s humanity, while historical rights analysis holds that rights are mutable and non-intrinsic.

The entire opinion avoids all questions of higher truth and morality. However, law is inherently rooted in presuppositions about truth and morality. The law needs moral authority to properly and justly function. The opinion implicitly rejects the Founding Father’s belief that rights are inherent to the humanity of each individual. The court refused to address the core question of the life of the unborn while the dissents boldly deny the humanity of the unborn.

The 14th Amendment was rendered virtually meaningless by court rulings that retreated before the opposition of southern nationalism. Later the defeat of segregation was based on the principles of the Declaration. However, the modern courts injected Hegelian group identity ideology into the 14th Amendment. The injection of group identity ideology has led to judicially created group rights like the right to abortion and has injected poison both into public policy and the larger culture.

The Declaration sets forth its source of authority as “the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God.” The Colonial Great Awakenings produced a consensus around natural law in the colonies rooted in the belief in individual rights of a universal nature that came from God. Modern liberal judicial activists and the conservative legal establishment “originalists” deny that the Declaration of Independence is the Republic’s founding document. The denial of this truth prevents them from adequately understanding the 14th Amendment.

The key to understanding the 14th Amendment is Abraham Lincoln’s belief that the Constitution rests on the Declaration’s principles. The Federal did not have jurisdiction to force the states to respect the rights recognized by the Declaration. The original intent of the 14th Amendment was to give the federal government the jurisdiction to ensure that the states respected the individual rights recognized by the Declaration of Independence.

Southern nationalists resisted the 14th Amendment, and the true meaning of the 14th Amendment was frustrated by the Supreme Court and public policymakers who lacked the will to overcome southern resistance. The Supreme Court pulled away from the original intent of the 14th Amendment in the 1873 Slaughter-House, 83 U.S. 36 (1873), and Plessy vs. Ferguson, 63 U.S. 537 (1896) decisions that hollowed out the Amendment’s individual rights protections.

The relationship of the Declaration to the Constitution is the key to understanding the original intent of the 14th Amendment. The conservative legal establishment has resisted the original intent of the 14th Amendment because they reject natural law and the truth that the Founding Fathers created the Constitution upon the Declaration of Independence. The error began when Barry Goldwater, in the name of “states’ rights,” called for civil rights to be left to the states. He rejected the natural law arguments of Martin Luther King (MLK) and condemned MLK as “choosing which laws he wishes to obey.”

MLK stood on the biblical natural law principles of the Founding Fathers, who, like MLK, defied the exercise of governmental power in violation of natural law. Goldwater followed the folly of John Calhoun’s states’ rights. Further, Goldwater’s ideology limited rights to those codified by law, rejecting natural law and the Declaration‘s principles. Goldwater’s legacy lies behind the conservative legal establishment’s rejection of natural law and the Declaration of Independence as the Republic’s founding document.

Congressman Bingham and the authors of the 14th Amendment intended to uphold the individual liberties recognized by the Declaration. Bingham understood the neo-feudal system of the south had violated the liberties of the slaves, and poor whites were treated as second-class citizens. The whole system needed to be overturned to uphold true equality.

The right to abortion is a group identity right used to deny the individual right to the unborn child’s life. The originalist response is the morally neutral argument that abortion is not mentioned in the Constitution and does not raise the individual rights of the unborn child.

Roe vs. Wade is wrong because the 14th Amendment was designed to ensure the states uphold the individual rights recognized by the Declaration. Therefore, all individuals, including the unborn, have the rights and privileges of the Constitution, and the states are required to respect all individual rights to due process and equal protection.

The natural law view holds that the privileges and immunities clause of the 14th Amendment fully protects the individual rights recognized by the Declaration and forbids states from violating those rights. Therefore, the privileges and immunities clause is the essential clause. The due process clause requires states to grant due process to each individual before infringing upon any right. The equal protection clause requires that all individuals be treated equally under the law. Therefore, no law may treat another differently or be enforced differently basically on the immutable characteristics of that individual, such as skin color.

Therefore, the meaning of the 14th Amendment has been limited to far less than the original intent. An unborn baby does not have a right to life since the authors of the 14th Amendment did not have the modern medical knowledge to be sure of full-term humanity. The originalist position has no legal or moral authority and, therefore, is incapable of prevailing in the long run. The truth of the natural law principles can heal the sickness of modern American culture.

Establishment originalist judges have rejected the Declaration’s principles and failed to uphold the true original intent of the 14th Amendment. The Founding Fathers established the Republic upon natural law. The Constitution rests on the principles of the Declaration of Independence, and the 14th Amendment gives the federal government the authority to ensure the states respect and protect the individual rights recognized by the Declaration. Rights are intrinsic and not subject to the definitions of democracy. The Republic needs a return to the founding principles, requiring the recognition of the moral imperative to uphold the value and dignity of all individuals, which is the cornerstone of a just society of liberty.

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