The Supreme Court ruling on ‘excessive fines’ has an Easter egg for libertarians

All nine justices agreed that the ban on excessive fines was extended to the states through the 14th Amendment. But two justices — Neil Gorsuch, who joined Ginsburg’s majority opinion, and Clarence Thomas, who didn’t — raised a question that captivated legal nerds as soon as the decision came down:

Exactly which language in the 14th Amendment does the work of incorporating the 8th Amendment’s ban on excessive fines against the states? This might seem like a dry technical question, but it has important political and policy implications, especially for libertarians who believe the Supreme Court should be more aggressive in protecting economic rights.