Palko v. Connecticut, 302 U.S. 319 (1937)

Commentary by Jon Roland

It is unfortuate that Justice Butler did not render a dissent in this case, which further ignored the evidence that the Framers of the 14th Amendment had intended it to both apply to the states all the rights recognized in the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, and to extend the jurisdiction of U.S. courts to cases involving those rights between a citizen and his state. See "Intent of the Fourteenth Amendment was to Protect All Rights". It was built on a non sequitur from the Slaughter-House cases, which reasonably rendered a decision by considering only those rights recognized by the U.S. Constitution that pertained to that case, to conclude that therefore the 14th Amendment did not incorporate the entire Bill of Rights. This was compounded by the decision in Hurtado, which positively declared a person accused of a crime by a state had no right to a grand jury indictment, and further compounded by the decision in Twining, which excluded the right against self-incrimination from incorporation under the 14th Amendment.

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