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Equal Protection

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Chapter Summary

The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution says that any state cannot deny equal protection of the laws to any person within its jurisdiction. The equal protection guarantee "does not prohibit legislation merely because it is special, or limited in its application to a particular geographical or political subdivision of the state". A legislature need not "actually articulate at any time the purpose or rationale supporting its classification". A classification "must be upheld against equal protection challenge if there is any reasonably conceivable state of facts that could provide a rational basis for the classification;" it is "constitutionally irrelevant reasoning in fact underlay the legislative decision". In this context, the defender of the classification "has no obligation to produce evidence to sustain the rationality of a statutory classification;" "a legislative choice is not subject to courtroom factfinding and may be based on rational speculation unsupported by evidence or empirical data".

Keywords: equal protection; lesgislative classification



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