equal protection


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 Americans with Disabilities Act became law on July 26, 1990, guaranteeing equal protection for people with a wide range of disabilities, from mental health issues to physical challenges. Arlene Martinez, USA TODAY, "In CA: Outbreaks increase, pension spiking's gotta go and 30 years of ADA," 31 July 2020 In the Kentucky case, the complainant is challenging the law's constitutionality on three grounds: violation of due process, equal protection and First Amendment rights. Sarah Haselhorst, The Enquirer, "Kentucky's Casey's Law, involuntary treatment for the addicted, is challenged as unconstitutional," 1 July 2020 The lawsuit also accused officials of violating her rights of free speech, equal protection, freedom of press and petition. Lauren Castle, The Arizona Republic, "Maricopa County attorney candidate accused of misconduct in decade-old case," 1 July 2020 Kaplan expects the Supreme Court to work out compromises when the Constitution's equal protection and free exercise clauses come into conflict. Richard Wolf, USA TODAY, "Supreme Court's same-sex marriage ruling turns 5: Acceptance, advancement, but opposition remains," 25 June 2020 The court majority rejected part of the plaintiffs’ argument, an equal protection claim, that Trump rescinded DACA out of racial animus. al, "Supreme Court ends ‘sleepless nights’ for thousands of Dreamers in Alabama," 18 June 2020 The suit argues that Texas’ $295 million contract tracing program — aimed at tracking down all people exposed to an infected person — violates the first amendment, privacy, due process and equal protection provisions. Gabrielle Banks, Houston Chronicle, "Steve Hotze takes on Gov. Abbott and the constitutionality of contact tracing," 16 June 2020 Wall argued that such an unconstitutional motivation in violation of the equal protection clause was far different than the allegations being made in the Flynn case. Jerry Dunleavy, Washington Examiner, "Flynn team and DOJ fight to end 'further impermissible intrusion' in appeals court," 12 June 2020 As a result, enforcement of such ballot-access rules violates constitutional guarantees of free speech and equal protection, the lawsuit asserts. Jeremy Pelzer, cleveland, "Ohio Green Party sues to regain state recognition, allow presidential candidates on fall ballot," 10 June 2020

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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The first known use of equal protection was in 1868

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Last Updated

5 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Equal protection.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/equal%20protection. Accessed 14 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for equal protection

equal protection


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.

More from Merriam-Webster on equal protection

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about equal protection

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