3.7 Selective Incorporation & the 14th Amendment

2 min readoctober 20, 2020

Annika Tekumulla

Annika Tekumulla

AP US Government 👩🏾‍⚖️

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What is selective incorporation?

Selective incorporation is defined as a constitutional doctrine that ensures that states cannot create laws that infringe or take away the constitutional rights of citizens. The part of the constitution that provides for selective incorporation is the 14th Amendment.

How does it work?

The Supreme Court uses the Fourteenth Amendment to selectively incorporate these rights.
The Fourteenth Amendment 📜 states that all persons born or naturalized in the United States are citizens of the United States and of the State that they reside in.
It also states that the State cannot create “any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” It is this part, aka the Equal Protections Clause, that the Supreme Court ⚖️ often cites when making rulings.

Cases & Examples

An example of this is the court case of McDonald v Chicago (2010), that we reviewed earlier, which ruled to limit gun control laws in Chicago. This relates back to selective incorporation because the citizens’ right to bear arms relates to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment. 
Another historic court case related to selective incorporation is Mapp v Ohio (1961). which ruled that illegally seized evidence cannot be used in court against the accused. The Court held that evidence collected from an unlawful search be excluded from trial. This ruling incorporated the Fourth Amendment’s protection of privacy using the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment.
🎥 Watch: AP GOPO - Breaking Down the 14th Amendment
key questions
  • What is due process?
  • What does the Equal Protection Clause do?
  • What is selective incorporation?

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