American viewers—hoping you all had a nice Independence Day celebration. Now, if you are in the mood for further festivities, Monday, July 9th, is the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the 14th amendment, an equally auspicious occasion and not just for aging constitutional law professors. The 14th amendment was part of the post-Civil War triumvirate that saw the belated abolition of slavery across the nation (Vermont was the first state to abolish slavery constitutionally in 1776) and the extension of the franchise to freedmen (and alas I do mean men) regardless of race or previous condition of servitude. The 14th affected the profoundest change in our politics—immediately overturning Dred Scott decision and establishing universal birthright citizenship in both state and nation, and ultimately requiring states to observe the federal rights in the Bill of Rights (you see this on every cop show on TV…”You have the right to remain silent, yada yada yada”) as well as numerous extra-textual rights to reproductive freedom (to conceive or to contra conceive, the rear and educate one’s child), to share domicile with one’s family and to marry even to study in a foreign language. Most important of all, the 14th amendment wrote into the Constitution, for the first time, an explicit guarantee of equality before the law. The full reach of the 14th amendment is still a work in progress. Give the first section a careful read.