What Does It Mean to Have Equal Protection of the Laws?
14th Amendment/Situations Handout
"No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." -- 14th Amendment
- After analyzing statistics on driving under the influence of alcohol and accident rates for drivers from ages 18-21, a state allows females to drink alcohol at 18 but makes males wait till 21.
- The National Honor Society at a public high school tells an unmarried teenage girl that she was not selected because she is pregnant.
- A state university has more sports programs for males than they do for females.
- A state law requires that 20% of the contracts to build highways be awarded to minority-owned firms since that reflects the demographics of the state population.
- A wealthy suburban community spends twice per student to educate their children than does a poor one.
- A state’s ethnic intimidation law provides special punishment for hate crimes that are based on gender, race, ethnic origin, and disability. No protection is provided because of sexual orientation.
- State troopers are required to retire at age 50.
- An immigrant family cannot apply for welfare benefits until they have lived in a state for two years.
- A public school creates separate classes for girls and boys because they believe that the girls will do better in science and math if boys are not present.