Publication Date

Spring 4-2024


Helms School of Government


Government: Pre-Law


Slaughterhouse, Slaughter-House Cases, Privileges or Immunities Clause, Privileges, Immunities, Fourteenth Amendment, 14th Amendment, Reconstruction Amendments, jurisprudence, precedent, stare decisis, Dobbs v. Jackson, Due Process Clause, substantive due process, Supreme Court, rights, constitutional law, Justice Thomas, McDonald v. Chicago


Constitutional Law | Courts | Fourteenth Amendment | Jurisprudence | Law | Law and Philosophy | Law and Politics | State and Local Government Law | Supreme Court of the United States


In 1872, the Supreme Court decided the Slaughter-House Cases, which applied a narrow interpretation of the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the 14th Amendment that effectually eroded the clause from the Constitution. Following Slaughter-House, the Supreme Court compensated by utilizing elastic interpretations of the Due Process Clause in its substantive due process jurisprudence to cover the rights that would have otherwise been protected by the Privileges or Immunities Clause. In more recent years, the Court has heard arguments favoring alternative interpretations of the Privileges or Immunities Clause but has yet to evaluate them thoroughly. By applying the Court’s expressed stare decisis factors, this thesis will evaluate the prudence in overturning the Court’s long-standing Privileges or Immunities Clause precedent established in the Slaughter-House Cases.