Amdt14.S1.4.10.3 Morality

Fourteenth Amendment, Section 1:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce 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.

Legislatures have wide discretion in regulating immoral activities. Thus, legislation suppressing prostitution 1 or gambling 2 will be upheld by the Court as within the police power of a state. Accordingly, a state statute may provide that judgment against a party to recover illegal gambling winnings may be enforced by a lien on the property of the owner of the building where the gambling transaction was conducted when the owner knowingly consented to the gambling. 3 Similarly, a court may order a car used in an act of prostitution forfeited as a public nuisance, even if this works a deprivation on an innocent joint owner of the car. 4 For the same reason, lotteries, including those operated under a legislative grant, may be forbidden, regardless of any particular equities. 5


  1.  L’Hote v. New Orleans, 177 U.S. 587 (1900).
  2.  Ah Sin v. Wittman, 198 U.S. 500 (1905).
  3.  Marvin v. Trout, 199 U.S. 212 (1905).
  4.  Bennis v. Michigan, 516 U.S. 442 (1996).
  5.  Stone v. Mississippi, 101 U.S. 814 (1880); Douglas v. Kentucky, 168 U.S. 488 (1897).