Cummings v. Missouri

(1867)

Stephen J. Field joined the U.S. Supreme Court in 1863, when American society was experiencing sweeping changes. Early in his tenure, issues arising from the Civil War and Reconstruction dominated the Court’s docket. Field was a champion of individual liberty, which in his mind included entrepreneurial freedom. Anxious to safeguard liberty by confining the reach of government, he insisted that the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment protected substantive rights. Substantive due process meant that there were certain individual rights, such as the right to acquire...

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Stephen J. Field (Library of Congress)

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