Discrimination on basis of legal alienage (non-citizen with visa)
Strict scrutiny generally applies.
Exception. Alienage classifications related to the vote, to hold public offices, to serve on juries, or to be public employees, are all governed by RATIONAL basis
Graham v. Richardson (1971) exclusion of legal aliens for public assistance.
Discrimination based on illegal alienage
Generally rational basis applies; HOWEVER, exceptions.
Exception = Discrimination against the children of illegal aliens in public education receives RATION BASIS WITH BITE scrutiny - Plyler v. Doe.
Clark v. Jeter (1988)
Classifications discriminating against illegitimate children receive INTERMEDIATE scrutiny.
Struck down law requiring illegitimate children to establish paternity within 6 years of birth or lose all claim to child support.
Discrimination based on: Age, Disability, Wealth, Class, or Sexual orientation
All receive RATIONAL BASIS scrutiny; discrimination based on these classifications must be rationally related to a legitimate government interest.
Williamson v. Lee Optical (1955)
Any conceivable rational relationship of the law to a legitimate end will suffice to pass strict scrutiny.
"The law need not be in every respect logically consistent with its aims to be constitutional. It is enough that there is an evil at hand for correction, and that it might be thought that the particular legislative measure was a rational way to correct it."
Law may exact a needless, wasteful requirement.
Buck v. Bell (1927)
Discrimination against those with mental disability must pass RATIONAL BASIS scrutiny under the EPC.
Government interest is public welfare.
"Three generations of imbeciles is enough"
In line with social sciences - eugenics.
Cleburne v. Cleburne Living Centre (1985)
The mentally disabled ARE NOT a suspect class, thus any legislative regulation affecting their rights is subjected to RATIONAL BASIS scrutiny.
NOTE HOWEVER, court applies RATIONAL BASIS WITH BITE.
The court shows less deference than usual, picking apart many of the cities justifications and holds that the ordinance is discriminatory.
San Antonio v. Rodriguez (1973)
RoL #1. Discrimination on the basis of wealth is analyzed under RATIONAL BASIS scrutiny.
RoL #2. Education is not a fundamental right under the 14th amendment, thus a state regulation impacting the right to education should be analyzed under RATIONAL BASIS review.
Facts. Texan statute that required only revenue source for local school districts should be locally collected property taxes, challenged as a form of wealth discrimination.
Discrimination not based on class but an actual right - FUNDAMENTAL INTEREST part of EPC
Plyler v. Doe (1982)
"If a state is to deny a discrete group of innocent children the free education that it offers to other children residing within it's borders, that denial must be justified with a showing that it FURTHERS SOME SUBSTANTIAL STATE INTEREST."
- This is rational basis with bite.
(Because RB doesn't mean substantial state interest)
Romer v. Evans (1996)
Discrimination against individuals on the basis of sexual orientation receives rational basis with bite level scrutiny.
Kennedy held that Colorado state constitutional amendment that repealed various protections for discrimination based on sexual orientation was irrational and repeal was done with discriminatory purpose.
Fundamental Rights Analysis
Small, small part of the EPC.
Government discrimination as to certain "fundamental interests" also violates EPC. Fundamental interests are outside of the Bill of Rights but quite limited.
When the state is discriminating based on a fundamental right:
- Right to vote,
- Right to reproduce etc. That law is subjected to STRICT scrutiny. Overrules Buck v. Bell.
Does NOT include right to equal education (San Antonio v. Rodriguez)
Features of Rational Basis
Highly deferential and presumption is strongly in faovr of the law.
Requires any state of facts which reasonably can be conceived to sustain the law. Challenger (not State) has burden of proof.
Law will be upheld unless challenger can show that gov't has no legitimate purpose or that means are unreasonable.