Goals help students understand what the Fourteenth Amendment protects. Help students understand how the Fourteenth Amendment is applied. Objectives

Activity and Discussion (case study of

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Activity and Discussion (case study of Bourke v. Beshear)

  1. Explain facts and prepare the single question to be decided in the case: Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people?

  2. Facts (see handout):

    1. Two women attempt to get married in the state of Jefferson

    2. Jefferson has a constitutional provision banning marriage between members of the same sex; because of this, the marriage registrar declines to provide a marriage certificate to the two women

    3. The two women sue, claiming that the Jefferson law is a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment

    4. The district court in Jefferson holds for the two women; the judge notes that homosexual individuals are a quasi-suspect class, falling under heightened scrutiny; the law fails under this standard

    5. The Court of Appeals for the Twelfth Circuit reverses that decision; the judge notes that homosexual individuals are not a quasi-suspect class, and so fall under rational basis review; the law stands under this standard

  3. Things to ask when you consider:

    1. What level of scrutiny should this fall under?

    2. What is the test under that level of scrutiny?

    3. Does the state law pass that level of scrutiny? Why or why not?


  1. Students will be evaluated based on their class participation and answers to the questions provided.


  1. No assignment this week

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