A Constitutional Oddity of Almost Byzantine Complexity: Analyzing the Efficiency of the Political Function Doctrine
33 Pages Posted: 6 Mar 2014 Last revised: 7 Mar 2014
Date Written: July 5, 2005
The political function doctrine enables states to classify persons based on alienage subject to only rational basis review if the classification concerns an occupation that is deemed to be a "political function." In practice, this allows states to impose citizenship requirements for certain occupations that constitute "political functions." This Note addresses the rights of one class of immigrant noncitizens, frequently called legal permanent residents (LPRs). This Note evaluates alienage classifications that limit the ability of LPRs to pursue careers in the United States, specifically focusing on the efficiency of citizenship requirements for employment in various jobs and occupations that the states designate as "political functions." The primary question this Note seeks to answer is whether markets function efficiently when states require some employers to deny individuals employment solely based on citizenship. As a result of the overlap between citizenship status and race, and the influence of race on immigration laws and citizenship requirements in the United States, an economic analysis of state citizenship requirements must also consider the effects of racism on markets.
Keywords: Constitutional Law, Immigration Law, Law and Economics
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