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Equal Protection of the

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EQUAL PROTECTION OF THE The fourteenth amendment of the constitu tion of the United States, 'among other pro visions respecting the life, liberty, and prop erty of citizens, provides that no state shall "deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." This provision has been subjected to much judi cial construction. The protection extends to "acts of the state whether through its legislative, its executive, or its judicial au thorities"; Scott v. McNeal, 154 U. S. 45, 14 Sup. Ct. 1108, 38 L. Ed. 896; Virginia v. Rives, 100 U. S. 313, 25 L. Ed. 667 ; Ex parte Virginia, 100 U. S. 339, 25 L. Ed. 676 ; Neal v. Delaware, 103 U. S. 370, 26 L. Ed. 567. In Chicago, B. & Q. R. Co. v. Chicago, 166 U. S. 226, 17 Sup. Ct. 581, 41 L. Ed. 979,. Harlan, J., for the court, said: "But it must be observed that the prohibitions of the amendment refer to all the instrumentalities of the state, to its legislative, executive, and judicial authorities, and, therefore, whoever by virtue of public position under a state government deprives another of any right protected by that amendment against dep rivation by the state, 'violates the constitu tional inhibition, and, as he acts in the name and for the state, and is clothed with the state's power, his act is that of the state.' This must be so, or, as we have often said, the constitutional prohibition has no mean ing, and 'the state has clothed one of its agents with power to annul or evade it.' " See Gibson v. Mississippi, 162 U. S. 565, 16' Sup. Ct. 904, 40 L. Ed. 1075 ; Yiek Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U. S. 356, 6 Sup. Ct. 1064, 30 L. Ed. 220. That amendment conferred no and additional rights, but only extended the protection of the federal constitution over rights of life, liberty; and property that previously existed under all state constitu tions. Prior to the passage of this amend

ment "the laws of all the states in terms gave equal protection to all white persons. This amendment, however, is general, and forbids the denial to any class of persons the equal protection of the laws by any state;: and there is no doubt that class legislation is forbidden;" State v. Holden, 14 Utah, 71, 46 Pac. -756, 37 L. R. 'A. 103. "What must constitute a denial of the equal protection of the law will depend, in this view, in a large measure, upon what rights of the law have been conferred, or protection extended, under the constitution and laws of the par ticular state in which the question arises. As the constitution and laws of the states vary, the proposition that each case must, to an extent, depend upon its own facts, is especially applicable to this class of cases. When the state itself nndertakes to deal with its citizens by legislation, it does so un der certain limitations, and it may not sin gle out a class of citizens, and subject that class to oppressiVe discrimination, especially in respect to those rights so important as to be protected by constitutional guaranty. That the prohibitions of that amendment are now regarded as protecting the citizen against a denial of the equal protection of the law, and against taking property without due process of law, under the power of taxa tion, is a proposition clearly deducible from the many causes in which that question has been considered ;" Nashville, C. & St. L. Ry. v. Taylor, 86 Fed. 168, 185. See PRIVILEGES