Compelling Interest and Racism

The Wall Street Journal‘s editors correctly decry President Joe Biden’s (D) race-based “equity” programs and diktats as taking our nation back to an ugly past.

By equity, Mr Biden means preferences for some racial groups over others to achieve equal outcomes.


Mr Biden sells his agenda as taking America into the future. But allocating government funds or privileges by race is a step back to an uglier past. … If applied on the scale Mr Biden hopes, America would become a nation of groups competing for racial spoils and defined outcomes rather than seeking equal opportunity for everyone.

The editors added this near the end of their piece, and here I demur from them.

Strict scrutiny requires that the government have a compelling interest for discriminating by race, and that it must use the least restrictive means to achieve that interest. If less restrictive ways can achieve the same purpose, the policy fails.

There shouldn’t be any strict scrutiny on such matters; the policies should fail on their face. There’s nothing in the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protections clause that permits Government-determined “compelling interest” to override our Constitution [emphasis added].

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. 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.

All of that plainly applies to our Federal government every bit as much as it does to each of the governments of the several States.

The Strict Scrutiny standard, as applied here, has been unconstitutional from the start and was an earlier Supreme Court attempt to duck its responsibility in applying our Constitution rather than seeking out excuses and methodologies for getting outside of it.

Government’s compelling interest is to defend and uphold our Constitution.

Full stop.

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