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Strict scrutiny is a form of constitutional review that is used to determine the validity of legislation that discriminates on the basis of suspect categories, such as race, or which strips individuals of fundamental rights, such as the right to vote, the right to privacy, or first amendment rights. Under strict scrutiny review, a statute can be found valid if the statute is narrowly tailored to serve a compelling governmental interest.
It has been said that strict scrutiny is strict in theory, but fatal in fact.
Currently, the only "suspect classifications" to which strict scrutiny applies are race, and national origin. Religion de facto has a very similar degree of protection (including the "compelling state interest" criterion), but religion is not usually regarded as a suspect class because religious discrimination is governed primarily by the free exercise clause, not the equal protection clause. Sexual orientation has been given a quasi-suspect classification.
- ↑ Sherbert v. Verner 374 U.S. 398 (1963).
- ↑ Brown v. Board of Education, 347 US 483, 74 S. Ct. 686, 98 L. Ed. 873 (1954).
- ↑ Korematsu v. U.S., 323 US 214, 65 S. Ct. 193, 89 L. Ed. 194 (1944)
- ↑ Romer v. Evans, 517 US 620, 116 S. Ct. 1620, 134 L. Ed. 2d 855 (1996). See also Lawrence v. Texas, 539 US 558, 123 S. Ct. 2472, 156 L. Ed. 2d 508.