Michael Kent Curtis thinks Ohio Should Place a John Bingham Statue in the Capitol. I agree.

December 11th, 2009

At Ohio.com, Professor Michael Kent Curtis, an icon in 14th Amendment Scholarship, writes that the State of Ohio should select John Bingham for their new statue in the Capitol. H/T @JessBravin

John A. Bingham would be the best choice. Bingham did more for civil liberty, free speech and press and equality than almost anyone in American history. Bingham was an anti-slavery congressman from Ohio. He wrote most of the words of section one of the 14th Amendment.

Bingham designed section one to require the states to obey the Bill of Rights and to ensure equal protection and due process for all persons. Today, almost all of the provisions of the Bill of Rights limit state and local governments. The equal protection and due process clauses were designed to protect against discrimination and denials of liberty of the sort imposed by the black codes. But Bingham’s amendment did more than protect former slaves; it required the states to respect equal protection and due process of law for all persons.

Even before the states were required to protect these rights, Bingham read the due-process clause of the Fifth Amendment as securing these rights to all persons against deprivation by the federal government. He explained:

It is hard to think of anyone from Ohio, and it is equally hard to think of more than a small number outside of Ohio, who have done more than John A. Bingham to bring our nation closer to its ideals. This too-often forgotten framer deserves a statue in the Capitol and other forms of recognition as well.

I emphatically agree with Curtis!   Simply put, Bingham is the man. His conceptions of liberty and freedom were essential to the drafting of the 14th Amendment.  Other possible notable Ohioans, including Thomas Edison and Bob Hope, have nothing on Bingham

And I think Volokh Commenter J. Aldridge would concur.