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Equality and Liberty in the Golden Age of State Constitutional Law$
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Jeffrey M. Shaman

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195334340

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195334340.001.0001

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(p.45) 2 Classifications
Equality and Liberty in the Golden Age of State Constitutional Law

Jeffrey M. Shaman

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on various legislative classifications that may contravene the principle of equality. Racial classifications are the quintessential suspect classification and have been recognized as such by state courts. In a few instances, state courts have interpreted their constitutions to go further than federal constitutional law in banning de facto segregation. The states also have been active in reviewing classifications based on gender. Twenty state constitutions contain provisions that specifically prohibit discrimination based on sex. In these states, as well as others, the courts usually take a strong stance against gender discrimination. Classifications based on sexual orientation have been treated as suspect by a few states, although most refuse to do so. Classifications based on age are ordinarily upheld by the state courts, but on a few occasions have been struck down as irrational.

Keywords:   racial discrimination, gender classifications, sexual orientation, age discrimination

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