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Standards of Review

I. Mere rationality- law must be rationally related to a legitimate governmental purpose


A. Of the three standards, this test is the easiest to satisfy; the government ation is always upheld
!. "egitimate governmental ob#etive- very broad onept, inludes pratially any type of health, safety,
or general welfare goal
$. Rational relation- has to be a minimally rational relation between the means hosen by the government
and the state ob#etive. %his re&uirement is easy to satisfy' only if the government has ated in a
ompletely arbitrary and irrational way will this rational lin( means and ends not be found.
). !urden of proof- the individual who is atta(ing the government ation will bear the burden of
persuading the ourt that the ation is unonstitutional.
*. )eferene to legislature' under this test, the $ourt will usually defer to a legislature+s deision that a law
is rational. "oose fitting laws are permitted here. %he law need not be the best law that ould have been
written to ahieve the legislative goal. It need not go far at all toward a oneivable legislative goal; the
$ourt will uphold a law ta(ing a ,first step- toward any legitimate goal, even if the $ourt thin(s the law
is unwise.
.. /hen used'
0. )ormant $ommere $lause' 102 the state regulation has to pursue a legitimate state end, and be
rationally related to that end; and 132 the state+s interest in enforing its regulation must outweigh
any burden imposed on interstate ommere, and any disrimination against interstate ommere
3. Substantive )ue 4roess' *onomi liberties, ta5ation, lifestyle 1drug laws, motoryle helmet law2,
6oning, et.
7. *&ual 4rotetion' mere rationality test is used as long as 102 no suspet or &uasi-suspet
lassifiation is being used, and 132 no fundamental right is being impaired. %his inludes' eonomi
regulations, non-fundamental rights suh as food, housing, free publi eduation, and age.
II. Intermediate srutiny- law must be substantially related to an important governmental purpose
A. %his standard is halfway between the rationally related test and strit srutiny. %here is roughly a 89-89
hane that the governmental ation will be stru( down.
!. !urden of proof- on the government
$. /hen used'
0. *&ual 4rotetion' will be used to #udge an e&ual protetion laim, where the lassifiation being
hallenged involves a semi-suspet trait. %he two traits, whih are onsidered semi-suspet for this
purpose, are 102 gender, and 132 illegitimay.
III. Strit srutiny- law must be neessary to ahieve a ompelling governmental purpose
A. %his is the hardest standard to satisfy. %he government ation will almost always be stru( down.
!. %he fit between the means and the end must be e5tremely tight.
$. :o less restritive alternatives' in pratie, this re&uirement that the means be neessary means that there
must not be any less restritive means that would aomplish the government+s ob#etive #ust as well.
). !urden of proof- on the government
*. /hen used'
0. Substantive )ue 4roess ; *&ual 4rotetion' where a governmental ation affets fundamental
rights, and the plaintiff laims that his substantive due proess rights are being violated, the $ourt
will use strit srutiny. .undamental rights inlude' right to travel, privay, voting, and all first
amendment rights.