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30 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back

Equal Protection Clause

The Equal Protection Clause is part of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The clause, which took effect in 1868, provides that no state shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction "the equal protection of the laws."

The 14th Amendment

The amendment's first section includes several clauses: the Citizenship Clause, Privileges or Immunities Clause, Due Process Clause, and Equal Protection Clause.

State v. Post

HInt: slavery was challenged by the NJ constitution.

Issue: is slavery inconsistent with a state constitutional clause that says all men are free.

Holding: slavery is not consistent to the statement that "all men are free."

Note: There exists different levels of freedom.

Dred Scott v. Sanford

Issues: are black individuals considered citizens in the conventional sense. Do they have standing to sue in federal court.

Holding: black people are not citizens and do not have standing.

Note: the reconstruction amendments overruled this decision.

13th Amendment

Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

15th Amendment

Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Plessy v. Ferguson

Hint: colored man denied a seat on a train.

Rule: Separate but equal is ok.

Brown v. Board of Education

Hint: school segregation challenged

Issue: does segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race (even thought equal facilities) deprive children of equal protection.

Reasoning: segregation reinforces racial divides and decreases exposure to other races. they inherently know that they are less of a person.

Bowling v. Sharpe

Hint: Petitioners, were denied admission to a public school in the District of Columbia based solely on their race.

Rule: Racial segregation in public schools is a denial of the due process of law guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution.

Note: The District of Columbia is governed by federal law, not state law therefore the 14th amendment of the Constitution does not govern the District of Columbia. Instead the Petitioners argue that segregation of public school children violates the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

Brown v. Board II

Gave the lower courts injunctive power to desegregate schools. With "all deliberate speed."--vague.

Rational Basis Review

1. the lowest level of review.

2. used in business and sexual orientation (with bite)

3. the law must be "rationally" related to a "legitimate" state interest.--health, welfare, and morals.


1. Used for gender, alienage, and illegitimacy issues

2. also known as heightened scrutiny

3. "substantially" related to an "important" state interest.

Strict Scrutiny

1. racial issues or it's clear that a fundamental right is being threatened

2. "narrowly tailored" to achieve a "compelling" government interest.

3. cannot be too over or under-inclusive.

4. if there's a less invasive way, it will fail.

New York City Transit Authority

Topic: Rational Basis Review

Hint: the methadone case. The transit authority tried to ban methadone users from being hired.

Issue: may a public authority deny employment to methadone users?

Holding: Yes. Methadone users don't have the characteristics of a suspect class.

Rule: All that must be shown is a rational end. It was over-inclusive but still passed rational basis review.

Ends and Means

Means: the tool used to achieve the goal. Bad if over or under-inclusive.

Ends: the end goal of the legislation.

U.S Department of Agriculture v. Moreno

Topic: Rational Basis

Hint: food stamp act excluded any household containing an individual unrelated to other members of the household.

Issue: was the unrelated person provision unconstitutional?

Holding: Yes. didn't pass the sniff test. ANIMUS. Wasn't rationally related to the goal of the Food Stamp Act.

City of Cleburne vs. Cleburne Living Center

Hint: the city denied an application for a group home for the mentally retarded.

Issue: A violation of the Equal Protection clause?

Holding: Yes. Not ok to deny the permit. Not related to a legitimate government interest. The court declined to rule on whether they were a protected class. This was one of the few times where a state law failed rational basis review.

Romer v. Evans

Topic: Rational Basis with teeth.

Hint: Co state amendment passed to ban protect gays from discrimination.

Issue: did the amendment violate the equal protection clause?

Holding: yes. ANIMUS. this case proved that cases involving homosexuality gets rational basis with teeth.

Minnesota vs. Clover Leaf Creamery

Issue: does the statute violate the commerce and equal protection clauses?

Holding: No and No. It was rationally related to a legitimate state interest to aid the environment.

Railway Express Agency vs. NY.

Issue: whether the statute violates equal protection and due process by allowing advertising of products sold by the owner of the vehicle as opposed to general advertising.

Holding: No.

Strauder v. West Virginia

Hint: black people not allowed to serve on juries and black man tried for murder and convicted by an all white jury. Argued his equal protection was denied.

Issue: may a state ban a person from serving on a jury based on race?

Holding: No.

Carolene Products (Footnote 4)

reserved for other types of cases more strict versions of scrutiny. Higher standard of review for minorities.


Topic: Strict Scrutiny (1st time SCOTUS applied it and one of a handful where they held the government met the standard).

Hint: Japanese internment camps. Man convicted for remaining in his home.

Issue: can a war time problem allow for the suspension of certain rights?

Holding: yes.

Note: "the constitution is not a suicide pact."

Loving v. Virginia

Topic: Strict Scrutiny.

Hint: interracial marriage

Issue: does a state law denying people the right to marry solely based on right violate the equal protection clause?

Holding: Yes. This is a facially racial statute.

Race & Strict Scrutiny

1) facially racist

2) facially neutral but motive race based

3) statutes is facially neutral and no racial motive but the law is applied in a discriminatory way.

4) statute has racially disparate effects of an otherwise neutral law. (Washington v. Davis)

Washington v. Davis

Topic: Rational Basis review.

Hint: racially disparate effects detected in the passage rates of a police exam.

Issue: does the administration of a race neutral test to applicants when it leads to the admittance of a disproportionate amount of races.

Holding: No.

Grutter v. Bollinger

Topic: strict scrutiny

Hint: Affirmative Action case. U of M law school.

a white applicant sued for being denied due to the "soft variables" system.

Issue: is student body diversity a compelling state interest enough to qualify for this practice?

Holding: Yes...but no quotas. no point systems.

Gratz v. Bollinger

Hint: another affirmative action challenge to the undergraduate university's use of a point system.

Issue: that ok?

Holding: not ok. be sneakier.

United States v. Virginia

Topic: Intermediate scrutiny.

Hint: boys only military academy. promised to make a parallel program for women but it wasn't actually equal.

Issue: may public schools exclude women?

Holding: No. This was unfair gender discrimination. Failed to show that there was not other way to maintain their adversarial system.

Nguyen v. I.N.S

Topic: Intermediate scrutiny employed.

Hint: if the mother is a U.S citizen, the child is automatically a U.S citizen. If the father is a U.S citizen, extra steps must be taken.

Issue: Do gender classifications benefitting women violate equal protection?

Holding: No. Does not violate equal protection standards.