Race And National Origin Of The Court 's Current Equal Protection Clause

1830 WordsMay 2, 20178 Pages
In recent decades, the Supreme Court has not granted certiorari for many gender-based discrimination cases, and consequently there has not been much jurisprudential progress lately regarding Equal Protection Clause claims. It is not uncommon for the Supreme Court to back off of certain issues that they feel are largely solved for the time being. Feeling that the existing precedent is satisfactory, the Court has not shown a desire to alter the test for gender-based claims and have settled on using an intermediate level of scrutiny for such cases, in between rational basis and strict scrutiny. Race and national origin are the only groups that are given strict scrutiny under the Supreme Court’s current Equal Protection Clause analysis.…show more content…
Put another way, in 2017 one can imagine very few gender-based distinctions in a statute that would not be intended to be discriminatory. Any valid gender distinction would surely pass the test of strict scrutiny. Simply stated, any statute or government action that draws a sharp distinction between the two sexes entirely should be presumptively unconstitutional unless there is sufficient reasoning as to why the distinction should exist. To understand why gender should be a suspect class, it is useful to examine the Supreme Court precedent regarding gender discrimination cases. The U.S. Supreme Court case of Bradwell v. Illinois, 83 U.S. 130 (1873) demonstrates both the history of discrimination against women based solely on gender as well as the Supreme Court’s past unwillingness to rectify gender discrimination. In this 1873 case, Myra Bradwell challenged an Illinois State Supreme Court ruling denying her admittance to the Illinois state bar despite the fact that Mrs. Bradwell passed the Illinois bar exam. The justification for why she was denied admittance to the bar was based solely on her sex, pursuant to a state law that forbade women from obtaining a law license. Bradwell brought a suit against the State of Illinois before
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