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 Amendment rights were violated, which pertain to unreasonable search and seizure and equal protection under the law. Mary Ramsey, The Courier-Journal, 23 July 2021 In addition to violating his due process rights, the suit alleges Rosenblum and Boss violated his equal protection rights by treating him differently than other prosecutors in the state who had their licenses suspended temporarily. oregonlive, 12 July 2021 Both groups are asking the judge to declare that their constitutional rights to due process and equal protection were violated by Fulton County in the November election. Kate Brumback, ajc, 21 June 2021 The attorneys argued that state police had used selective enforcement, violating the equal protection and due process clauses of the 14th Amendment. Washington Post, 10 June 2021 And so the question before the court was whether a male-only registration requirement violates the Constitution's guarantees of equal protection and due process. John Fritze, USA TODAY, 7 June 2021 Southwick said the students’ constitutional rights to equal protection and due process should take precedence over the schools’ First Amendment rights. Nara Schoenberg, chicagotribune.com, 3 June 2021 People usually use the term to focus on guarantees of equal protection or individual freedom. Kwame Anthony Appiah, New York Times, 31 May 2021 The Court has generally held that the constitutional guarantee of equal protection and statutory prohibitions of discrimination create individual rights. Rick Esenberg, National Review, 11 Apr. 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near equal protection

equal opportunity employer

equal protection

equal sign

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Statistics for equal protection

Last Updated

25 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Equal protection.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/equal%20protection. Accessed 30 Jul. 2021.

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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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