Rebuilding the Fourteenth Amendment: The Prospects and the Pitfalls

55 Pages Posted: 15 Aug 2018 Last revised: 29 Apr 2019

Date Written: July 31, 2018


It has now been more than 20 years since the libertarian community began a concerted effort to rescue the Fourteenth Amendment from the misinterpretations foisted upon it over the course of the previous century. Today there appears to be a slowly increasing willingness in the legal community to recognize again the constitutional status of economic liberty and private property rights — not just in words, but in deeds, by providing stronger protections for these rights. On the 150th anniversary of that Amendment, there are things to celebrate — and obstacles that remain. This paper assesses the progress of the last two decades in reviving that Amendment’s long-neglected legal protections for economic liberty and property rights, and to consider where the focus of future work should be in the coming years.

Keywords: Libertarian, Fourteenth Amendment, Lochner, Kelo, eminent domain, economic liberty, substantive due process, privileges or immunities, free speech

Suggested Citation

Sandefur, Timothy, Rebuilding the Fourteenth Amendment: The Prospects and the Pitfalls (July 31, 2018). Available at SSRN: or

Timothy Sandefur (Contact Author)

Goldwater Institute ( email )

500 E. Coronado Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85004
United States
(602) 462-5000 (Phone)
(602) 256-7045 (Fax)


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