A constitutional doctrine through which the first 10 amendments of the United States Constitution (the Bill of Rights) are made applicable to the states through the Due Process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Incorporation applies both substantively and procedurally. Prior to the doctrine's (and the Fourteenth Amendment's) existence, the Bill of Rights applied only to the Federal Government and to federal court cases. States and state courts could choose to adopt similar laws, but were under no obligation to do so.
After the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Supreme Court favored a process called “selective incorporation.” Under selective incorporation, the Supreme Court would incorporate certain parts of certain amendments, rather than incorporating an entire amendment at once.
See also . . .