This clause is self-executory, that is to say, its enforcement is dependent upon the judicial process. It does not authorize penal legislation by Congress. Federal statutes prohibiting conspiracies to deprive any person of rights or privileges secured by state laws,167 or punishing infractions by individuals of the right of citizens to reside peacefully in the several States and to have free ingress into and egress from such States,168 have been held void.
167 United States v. Harris, 106 U.S. 629, 643 (1883). See also Baldwin v. Franks, 120 U.S. 678 (1887).
168 United States v. Wheeler, 254 U.S. 281 (1920).
Last modified: June 9, 2014