Applicability of the Fifth Amendment to the States

As originally ratified it was unclear whether the Fifth Amendment applied only against action taken by the federal government or if it also protected freedoms from state governmental abuse. The Supreme Court in Barron v. City of Baltimore, 32 U.S. 243 (1833) ruled that the Fifth Amendment did not apply to the states.

This judgment settled the question until the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified in 1868. It guaranteed the citizens of every state the right to equal protection of the laws and the right to due process of law. Following ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Supreme Court began making individual freedoms enumerated in the Bill of Rights applicable to the states via the doctrine of incorporation. Under this doctrine, the Court explained through a series of cases that no state may deny any citizen a fundamental liberty without violating the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection and Due Process clauses. The Court has ruled that these fundamental liberties include every liberty set forth in the Bill of Rights, except the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms, the Third Amendment’s right against quartering soldiers, the Seventh Amendment’s right to trial by jury in civil cases, and the Fifth Amendment’s right to indictment by grand jury.


Inside Applicability of the Fifth Amendment to the States