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Equal Protection Questions

There's more than one right answer.

  • Has the Supreme Court developed an appropriate set of tests for judging state laws that employ classifications?
  • Is there something fundamentally wrong with applying different levels of scrutiny to different types of classifications?
  • Does a complex society require a complex conception of equality?
  • What standard should be applied to classifications based on race? Gender? Age? Citizenship? Sexual Orientation? Income level?
  • Compare Regents of the University of California v. Bakke and the two University of Michigan affirmative action cases. In what ways has the Supreme Court's position changed? In what ways has it remained the same?
  • Is affirmative action a just successor to Brown v. Board? Or is it a mistake, a strange distortion of the egalitarian principles that drove the civil rights movement in its beginnings?
  • Compare Rostker v. Goldberg and United States v. Virginia. Do you agree with these decisions?
  • Are they contradictory?
  • Could both be correct?
  • The Supreme Court ruled very differently in Bowers v. Hardwick and Romer v. Evans. What, do you suppose, caused the Court to change its position so dramatically in just ten years?
  • Will same-sex couples win a nationally recognized right to marry in the near future? In your lifetime?
  • If so, will the right be won through political or judicial processes? Will the right be extended by the Supreme Court or Congress?
  • Which clause in the Fourteenth Amendment is more likely to lead to a constitutionally protected right to gay marriage?
  • Who did more to advance equality—Earl Warren, Gavin Newsom, Linda Brown, Curtis Craig, Allan Bakke, Megan Smith, John Lawrence, or Richard Nixon?

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