Intergenerational Justice in the United States Constitution,
The Stewardship Doctrine:
III. Constitutional Text

C Corruption of Blood, Slavery, and Equal Protection- 14th Amendment

The beneficiaries of such governmental overreaching, undertaken in clear violation of self-evident principles of justice ('natural law' in the framers' parlance), accept the largesse at their own risk. As Jefferson explained, "[T]he present holders, even where they, or their ancestors, have purchased, are in the case of bona fide purchasers of what the seller had no right to convey." f271

A modern revocation or limitation of private property rights which were created by past generations in derogation of later generations' legitimate interests should no more require compensation than did emancipation. f272

Given the clear intergenerational subtext to the 13th and 14th Amendments, it seems reasonable to conclude that public policies with intergenerationally discriminatory effects should be actionable under the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause. Various jurisprudential guidelines which have been developed over the last century and a half also support the conclusions that remote future generations can and should be treated as a 'suspect' class, f273 and that serious intergenerational harms (especially irreparable harms to the environmental infrastructure) can and should be recognized as unconstitutional infringements upon their 'fundamental interests.'

One of the jurisprudential guidelines just referred to is the widely accepted notion that the 14th Amendment should be used to "neutralize the systematic legislative underrepresentation of relatively powerless, non-participating groups."f274 Remote future generations certainly fit this bill. Because they are not yet born, they have no direct representation in the political process. In the rough and tumble world of special interest politics, it is easy for policymakers to neglect the interests of citizens who will never be a part of their voting constituency. f275

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