The Congruence Principle Applied: Rethinking Equal Protection Review of Federal Alienage Classifications after Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Peña
32 Pages Posted: 12 Jan 2016
Date Written: 1997
This article suggests that the Supreme Court's 1995 decision in Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Peña constitutes a starting point for a renewed dialogue on the intersection of race, noncitizens' rights, and immigration law.
Part I of this Article examines the historical foundations of the plenary power doctrine up to the current dichotomy between judicial review of state and federal alienage classifications under equal protection. Part II reviews the Adarand decision, arguing that Justice O'Connor's congruence principle provides the bulwark for a revision of judicial review of federal legislation, especially in light of the historical and continuing perception of Asian- and Latino-Americans as noncitizens. The Article briefly concludes that underlying the proposed model is the well-established tenet that the equal protection guarantee stands as the vanguard of minority rights against systematic government discrimination.
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