Legislative Enforcement of Equal Protection

56 Pages Posted: 24 Feb 2016

See all articles by Stephen F. Ross

Stephen F. Ross

The Pennsylvania State University (University Park) – Penn State Law

Date Written: 1988


This Article explores the legislative role in enforcing the constitutional guarantee to equal protection. Part I describes the underenforcement principle that explains the restrictive judicial exercise of authority in constitutional matters. The Article then focuses on Congress' role in examining issues relating to the constitutional guarantee of equal protection that the courts have chosen to underenforce. Part II analyzes relevant constitutional provisions that may empower or limit congressional actions. Part III considers ways in which Congress can address state violations of equal protection through directives to the judiciary and through the legislative process. Part IV details how both federal and state legislatures can implement equal protection guarantees in everyday legislation. Finally, Part V distinguishes between constitutionally motivated decision-making and conscientious decision-making within the legislature and discusses the political implications of a legislative process that directly addresses the constitutionality of equal protection issues.

Suggested Citation

Ross, Stephen F., Legislative Enforcement of Equal Protection (1988). Minnesota Law Review, Vol. 72, No. 311, 1988, Penn State Law Research Paper, 1988, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2736504

Stephen F. Ross (Contact Author)

The Pennsylvania State University (University Park) – Penn State Law ( email )

Lewis Katz Building
University Park, PA 16802
United States

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