DOI link for Intermediate-Level Scrutiny
Intermediate-Level Scrutiny book
The US Supreme Court has used an intermediate level of scrutiny to determine when state laws that make gender distinctions, such as a male-only draft, violate constitutional protections and are therefore invalid. Over the years, the Supreme Court has developed three different standards to help determine the constitutionality of state laws under the Equal Protection Clause. The highest standard is called "strict scrutiny" and applies to laws that violate fundamental freedoms (such as religion, speech, and press) or that pertain to "suspect" classifications, such as racial distinctions. Although gender fits many of the attributes inherent to suspect classification-immutable characteristics and a history of "invidious" discrimination or an emotionally based antagonism toward a group-the Supreme Court has not held that gender meets the criteria required for suspect classification. The lowest standard, "minimal rationality," applies to most other forms of classification, for example, age or sexual preference.