Under the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, we have strict scrutiny for laws that interfere with fundamental rights, but for non-fundamental rights are protected by something called the rational basis test. As a form of judicial review, the rational basis test ensures that all laws both serve a legitimate governmental purpose and are reasonably related to said purpose.

How has the rational basis test changed over time? Does it still serve its intended purpose? Professor Jeffrey Jackson of Washburn School of Law explores the development of this baseline test over the past 138 years.

As always, the Federalist Society takes no particular legal or public policy positions. All opinions expressed are those of the speaker.

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Differing Views:

The Federalist Society Blog: “Scrutiny for Me, But Not For Thee? New York Times Columnist Praises Courts for ‘Calling out Legislators’ in Abortion and Voting Rights Cases”

University of Richmond Law Review: “Putting Rationality Back Into the Rational Basis Test: Saving Substantive Due Process and Redeeming the Promise of the Ninth Amendment”

Georgetown University Law Center: “Keynote Remarks: Judicial Engagement Through the Lens of Lee Optical”

Notre Dame Law Review: “The Canon of Rational Basis Review”