State Action and Incorporation

State Action and Incorporation

No course in constitutional law would be complete without a thoroughgoing discussion of the rights enshrined in the Constitution—and the limits they impose upon government. This chapter begins our survey of individual rights with the Fourteenth Amendment, along with other important protections, some of which have recently been reinvigorated.


The Constitution as written contained only one express individual right, the right to trial by jury. But much of modern constitutional law is nevertheless focused on individual rights, especially those found in the Bill of Rights and in the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments. Before turning to the specific substance of many of these protections, we begin with the subjects of the Constitution, or in other words, to whom it applies.

I. Adoption of the Bill of Rights

Adoption of a...