A review of The 14th Amendment and the Incorporation Doctrine by David Benner (Minneapolis: Life and Liberty Publishing Group, 2017)
Even though I have always been a strong advocate of states’ rights and sovereignty, and for safeguarding the federal system, the “incorporation doctrine” had always troubled me. What is meant by the “incorporation doctrine”? The application, by the federal courts, of the Bill of Rights restrictions upon the states. In other words, the states are bound by the restrictions found in the first eight amendments to the Constitution.
I certainly didn’t like the doctrine of incorporation but I once believed that it was simply the way things were. As long as states were in the Union, then they must uphold the US Constitution, and if they chose not to, their only recourse was ultimately secession. But, of course, I had never bothered to dig into the particulars of the legal theory to determine if it was sound or not.
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