Select Page

Constitutional Law I
University of Dayton School of Law
McGreal, Paul E.




14 Amendment:

Section 1: 1. Nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty in the Due Process clause.

2. The Equal protection Clause

The Equal Protection Clause: of the 14 th Amendment


· This provision is not self-enforcing or self-deciding.

· Every law in some way distinguishes between certain groups of people.

· It cannot be read as an absolute equality, it is a guarantee of a certain type of equality.

· What laws federal/ state impressive discriminate and which ones permissible discriminate

Text: No state shall deny to any person within its jurisdictions equal protection.

Equal protection analysis: ON FINAL essay question

1. Identity the proper test: there are 4 total.

2. Apply the test

Four Tests—Level of Scrutiny

1. Strict Scrutiny

2. Intermediate Scrutiny

2a. Heightened Rational Basis Review

3. Rational Basis Review

***LESS rigorous is Rational Basis Review—easiest for the GOVT to win, Strict Scrutiny the govt can’t win.

How do you know what test to do.

It depends on how the GOVT discriminates:

· Strict Scrutiny: Govt discriminates by race, ethnicity, and national origin

· Intermediate Scrutiny: Govt discriminates by Gender Legitimacy

· Heightened Rational Basis Review—discuss later.

· Rational Basis Review: goes to everything else.


Classification of the law———-(why did you pass that law, goal purpose to serve, what is objective)

· Need to analyze MEANS and ENDS.

1. Strict Scrutiny:

a. Compelling interest

b. Necessary/ Narrowly tailored

2. Intermediate Scrutiny:

a. Important Interest

b. Substantial relationship

3. Rational Basis Review

a. Legitimate Interest

b. Rationally Related

Suspicion and Heightened Scrutiny:

1. History of Mistreatment

2. Classification ordinarily irrelevant

3. Political powerlessness

What classifications does the law create? If the speed limit is 80/ 45

· Faster than 80 mph

· Less than 80 mph

· Rational basis review.

Over and Under Inclusiveness

· Why do we have an 80 mph speed limit? Safety.

· Is greater than 80 mph over inclusive? Some people that drive 80 mph are safe drivers! So it’s over-inclusive. They are still punished by the law. Too many people are punished given the government’s purpose.

· Is there a way that it is under-inclusive: YES, It does not include drunk drivers, heart condition to drive. It does not cover some people that might be unsafe.

If you have a law that is over/ under inclusive—can you rewrite it?

· In Mountain, they had a speed limit that by day was “reasonable and prudent” depend on the driver etc.

Traditional Reason why Govt goes with the speed limit numbers:

1. Cost more to apply: Police officers trying to testify–

2. Lack of consistency:

3. Lack of predictability

4. Potential for bias or prejudice

What is the strongest argument for the President’s claim of privilege? Narrow it down to the choice, civil proceedings- a relatively weak claim.

Railway Express Agency v. NEW YORK

Facts: A city regulation prohibits advertising vehicles in city streets, but permits the putting of business notices upon business delivery vehicles, so long as such vehicles are engaged in the usual business or regular work of the owner and not used merely or mainly for advertising.

Owner of the truck advertising their business- railway express is unacceptable b/c they are not advertising their business, they are advertising someone else’s business.

Holding: The Court held that if the classification was related to the purpose for which it was made, then it did not contain the kind of discrimination against which the Equal Protection Clause afforded protection. Therefore, the court affirmed the lower court’s judgment conviction.

What level of scrutiny?

· Rational Basis Review: if your own-okay, if someone else’s not okay.

Rational Basis Review Test:

1. Legitimate government interest:

· Traffic safety— no argument that it is not.

2. Rational Relationship

· Is the law over-inclusive? Yes

· Is it under-inclusive? Yes. Times Square there is distractions everywhere but the are not on vehicles.

Given the over and under inclusive is the law unconstitutional? No.

Rational Relationship:

a. Must government have evidence of relationship?

· “The local authorities may well have concluded.” The court does not know or does not care if there is evidence of this.

· It would require a burden on the government that they don’t necessarily have.

· They can base it on rational speculation for example, you can’t park for after 30 minutes, did they do studies about 35 minutes makes the road congested etc.

b. Over-and under-inclusive allowed?

· Yes.

c. Likelihood of rational relationship?

· Only needs to be an allowable one

d. All or nothing?

· Times square, you don’t have to attack every single problem of the same type.

· Government can piecemeal legislative, one problem at a time.

Massachusetts Board of Retirement v. Murgia:

Facts: Massachusetts law requires state police officers to retire upon turning 50 years old. The Respondent, Murgia (Respondent), argues that this compulsory retirement denies him equal protection under the laws.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. Age classifications are only subject to rational basis review.

Holding: The law was not unconstitutional–

What classification does the law create? Rational Basis Review

Discriminated against age. Age gets rational basis review.

Over age 50 must retire.

Rational Basis Review:

1. Legitimate interest: public safety. This law does not achieve the public safety.

2. Rationally Related: is the age limit rationally related to public safety-the court allows the inference that the ability decline over time. At a particular age the govt is allowed to make the inference that a large majority is no longer qualified.

This law does not achieve the public safety.

· Argument not rationally related to protecting public safety.

· Is the law over-exclusive: Yes. There are many officers that are more than capable to do their job at the age over 50.

· 12— There is no indication that 26(3)(a) has the effect of excluding from service so few officers who are in fact unqualified as to rend age 50 criterion wholly unrelated to the obje

r ways.

** If any of the three here it can go under Strict Scrutiny

1. We have been looking on its face- the text of the law.

2. Enforced or administered in a race/ ethnicity way.

3.Govt’s Intent to enact the law. (Hunter v. Understood)

Administration/ Enforcement

Yick Wo v. Hopkins:

Facts: Yick Wo was imprisoned for operating a laundry in a wooden building in violation of a San Francisco statute. That statute vested in the board of supervisors the discretion to grant or withhold licenses to operate laundries in wooden buildings. Yick Wo had operated the laundry in the same building for 22 years and fire wardens and safety inspectors had inspected the premises and found them safe.

The board denied licenses to all Chinese-American applicants but denied only one of 80 non-Chinese Americans.

From this case:

Approved: 80 Non Chinese and 0 Chinese

Denied: 1 Non-Chinese and 200 Chinese

Very clear—- only 1 person did not fit the pattern of ethnic discrimination.

So strict scrutiny.

Village of Arlington heights v. Metropolitican Housing Dev. Corp.

Facts: a case heard by the Supreme Court of the United States dealing with a zoning ordinance that in a practical way barred families of various socio-economic, and ethno-racial backgrounds from residing in a neighborhood. The Court held that the ordinance was constitutional.

· What is the challenge here? A zoning change.

· The situation here is the housing that they builders want to construct is low/ moderate income housing, it is federal subsidies housing. Portion of village of Arlington hts is rezoned to .

· Proposed Development: rezoned to multi-family residences, racially integrated, 40% of the population is black. 18% of the Chicago area are black.

· 64,000 residents and 27,000 are African Americans.

Court said no racial discrimination here, it was not intended to be racially discriminatory it was just the impact.

The court looks at Village of Arlington Hts has been interpreted and implied to have 6 factors: if it is not racial on its face…see if it is motivated by racial discrimination.

1. Historical background

2. Sequence of events

3. Departures from normal procedures

4. Departure from substantive rules

5.Legislative history

6. Extreme disparate impact: ties to Yick Wo, Hopkins: this is an example, there is no other explanation necessary.

Shifting Burden:

Party alleging discrimination:

Was a racially discriminatory purpose a motivating factor( the six factors from Village come in here, these are OR factors) for the govt action?

· If no apply Rational Basis Review.

· If yes Continue—