4. Equal Protection Clause: The “Equal Protection Clause” of the 14th Amendment prevents government from making certain types of “classifications,” mainly ones that unfairly treat similarly-situated people differently. (Example: The Equal Protection Clause is what prohibits governments from running racially segregated schools.) [Chap. 10]
5. Freedom of Expression: The First Amendment protects “speech” against government interference. This includes the freedom of individuals to engage in political protest, the freedom of the press to publish, the freedom of individuals to “associate” with whomever they wish, and more. As you might expect, this “freedom” is far from absolute — often, government will be able to restrict free expression in some way or another (e.g., by requiring a permit before a large political demonstration takes place, or by prohibiting someone from advocating that a crime be committed). [Chap. 14]
6. Freedom of Religion: The First Amendment also protects “freedom of religion.” There are two distinct clauses in the First Amendment dealing with religion [Chap. 15]:
a. Establishment Clause: The “Establishment” Clause prevents government from “establishing” an official religion. That is, government may not endorse or support religion generally, or a particular religion.
b. Free Exercise Clause: The “Free Exercise” Clause prevents government from outlawing or seriously burdening a person’s pursuit of whatever religion (and whatever religious practices) he chooses.
A. Three standards: There are three key standards of review which reappear constantly throughout Constitutional Law. When a court reviews the constitutionality of government action, it is likely to be choosing from among one of these three standards of review: (1) the mere-rationality standard; (2) the strict scrutiny standard; and (3) mid-level review.
1. Mere-rationality standard: Of the three standards, the easiest one to satisfy is the “mere-rationality” standard. When the court applies this “mere-rationality” standard, the court will uphold the governmental action so long as two requirements are met:
a. Legitimate state objective: First, the government must be pursuing a legitimate governmental objective. This is a very broad concept — practically any type of health, safety or “general welfare” goal will be found to be “legitimate.”