equal protection

noun

Definition of equal protection 

: a guarantee under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that a state must treat an individual or class of individuals the same as it treats other individuals or classes in like circumstances

Examples of equal protection in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The 4-3 decision, in which Kennedy sided with the majority, determined that such a program is legal under the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. CBS News, "Judge Brett Kavanaugh named Trump's second Supreme Court justice - live updates," 9 July 2018 The lawsuit claims the law is racially discriminatory and violates equal protection, among other claims. Mike Cason, AL.com, "Judges hear appeal challenging law that blocked Birmingham minimum wage," 13 Apr. 2018 That leaves no room for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to usurp the legislature’s power under vague interpretations of the state’s guarantees of free speech and equal protection, the state Republicans say. Robert Barnes, Washington Post, "Supreme Court refuses to block Pa. ruling invalidating congressional map," 5 Feb. 2018 Central both to the idea of the rule of law and to our own Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection is the principle that government and each of its parts remain open on impartial terms to all who seek its assistance. Nancy L. Combs, Vox, "An optimist and yet a realist: a former clerk to Justice Kennedy considers his legacy," 30 June 2018 The 4-3 decision, in which Kennedy sided with the majority, determined that such a program is legal under the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. Kathryn Watson, CBS News, "Historic cases decided by Justice Kennedy," 27 June 2018 Further, Skokie makes the unusual argument that Evanston’s higher rates would violate due process and equal protection rights guaranteed in the Fifth and 14th amendments of the U.S. Constitution — hence the federal lawsuit. Genevieve Bookwalter, chicagotribune.com, "After lawsuit, Evanston mayor says Skokie must 'pay its fair share' for Lake Michigan water," 26 June 2018 The states allege the border policy violates immigrants’ Fifth Amendment rights to equal protection under the law and due process. Fortune, "17 States Sue Trump Over Family Separation Policy," 26 June 2018 Principles such as equal protection under the law and due process of law protect life, liberty and property and trump instructions of the president to the DOJ and instructions of the DOJ to the FBI. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "Breaking: House hammers hard-line immigration bill," 21 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'equal protection.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of equal protection

1868, in the meaning defined above

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5 Sep 2018

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The first known use of equal protection was in 1868

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equal protection

noun

Legal Definition of equal protection 

: a guarantee under the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that a state must treat an individual or class of individuals the same as it treats other individuals or classes in like circumstances

called also equal protection of the law

— see also rational basis test, strict scrutiny, suspect classification

Note: The equal protection requirement of the Constitution protects against legislation that affects individuals differently without a rational basis for doing so. In reviewing claims of denial of equal protection, a court will uphold legislation that has a rational basis unless the legislation affects a fundamental right or involves a suspect classification, such as race. In such a case, the court will use a strict scrutiny standard of review and will strike down legislation that does not show a compelling need for discriminating.

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