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September 11, 2018 | The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) today filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court arguing that the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition of excessive fines applies to the states. The brief traces the history of the Fourteenth Amendment, showing that it was adopted in order to empower the federal government to prevent the states from infringing the equal rights of Americans, especially Black Americans. On this basis, the brief argues that the Fourteenth Amendment incorporates the Eighth Amendment’s Excessive Fines Clause, making it applicable to the states. “The goal of the Eighth Amendment,” states the brief “was to protect against the Government unfairly wielding its power to punish citizens. This was also a key concern of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

The brief, which can be read here, was filed in the case of Timbs v. Indiana.