Ask a Business Lawyer. Get Business Law Questions Answered ASAP.
I think this is a very interesting area, Constitutional law is one of my favorite subjects.
Courts will apply three levels of scrutiny in an equal protection clause analysis, depending on the type of classification being analyzed.
These are strict scrutiny, which is the highest level, followed by a mid-level of scrutiny which can be called "quasi-strict" scrutiny, and "rational basis" scrutiny.
Good to see you again.
thanks for all your help! you have the best answers
Well thank you, you've got some great questions!
So these levels of scrutiny come up when we're talking about the equal protection clause of the fourteenth amendment. The equal protection clause says that no state can "deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
The levels of scrutiny are applied to laws that classify people based on certain qualities. Depending on the type of classification, a different type of scrutiny will be used to determine if a law is violative of the equal protection clause.
If a statute is discriminatory based on certain suspect characteristics like race, religion or national origin, the strict scrutiny will be employed.
If a statute is discriminatory based on gender or age, the middle level of scrutiny will be used.
Let me correct that, age is not generally considered quasi-suspect.
Gender, however, is definitely considered quasi-suspect.
Age, in fact, falls in the minimum level of scrutiny, along with everything else that does not fall under strict or quasi-strict.
This third type of scrutiny requires only a rational basis for the statute to survive.
If a classification is such that strict scrutiny should be applied, then the analysis to determine if the statute is constitutional is based on a three pronged test. (1) The statute must serve a compelling governmental goal, (2) the statute must be narrowly tailored to that compelling governmental goal, and (3) it must be the least restrictive means possible to achieve that goal.
Strict scrutiny is frequently called "strict in theory, fatal in fact." This is because the level of scrutiny is so high that almost no statute will survive it.
An example of a classification subject to strict scrutiny can be found in Adarand Constructors, Inc. v Pena, a Supreme Court case which overturned Metro Broadcasting, Inc. v. FCC. Under Metro Broadcasting, benign racial classifications (like regulations favoring minority owned businesses) were subject to intermediate level scrutiny. After Adarand Constructors, these classifications were considered to be subject to strict scrutiny.
Intermediate scrutiny, which you could call "quasi-strict" scrutiny, is a level of scrutiny slightly below strict. It applies to gender based discrimination, and increasingly to sexual orientation, as well as illegitimacy.
Intermediate is less strict than strict, naturally, and higher than rational basis.
The rational basis standard is the minimal level scrutiny, which applies to discrimination against categories not covered in the above two categories. The test in only that the discriminatory legislation have a rational basis in a legitimate governmental goal.
So intermediate scrutiny is somewhere between the three-pronged strict scrutiny test, and the broad rational basis test. So a gender-based discriminatory statute would only need to be substantially related to an important governmental goal to survive scrutiny.
Hi, I'm still here.
Do you have any questions so far?
If not I can move on to separation of powers.
nope. sounds good to me
Separation of powers is a political concept contained within the Constitution that informs the entire structure of our government.
Do you have a question or need me to clarify something?
the only thing i really need to do is ..Compare the three equal protection approaches: minimum rationality, strict scrutiny, and quasi-strict scrutiny. Then discuss which was used and how the Supreme Court reasoned in ‘Adarand Constructors, Inc. v Pena’.
Oh I see.
The Adarand Constructors case was very interesting in that it overturned the Metro Broadcasting Inc v.FCC decision
So the status quo before Adarand was the Metro Broadcasting ruling, which held that a federal policy awarding preferences to minorities was subject to quasi-strict scrutiny, like discrimination based on gender.
Adarand changed this and expanded strict scrutiny to all discrimination based on race, even if it is benign or favorable to the minority group in question. So the statute had to be narrowly tailored to achieve a compelling government interest in the least restrictive way possible.
Do you have any questions directly related to the Adarand case?
Please don't hesitate to let me know if you have any additional questions or if you need me to clarify anything. Have a great night!