Strict scrutiny is a form of judicial review that courts use to determine the constitutionality of certain laws. To pass strict scrutiny, the legislature must have passed the law to further a "compelling governmental interest," and must have narrowly tailored the law to achieve that interest. A famous quip asserts that strict scrutiny is "strict in name, but fatal in practice."
For a court to apply strict scrutiny, the legislature must either have significantly abridged a fundamental right with the law's enactment or have passed a law that involves a suspect classification. Suspect classifications have come to include race, national origin, religion, alienage, and poverty.
Compare to intermediate scrutiny and rational basis.
Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary
A legal standard to determine the constitutionality of a statute, used when the statute implicates a fundamental right or relates to a suspect classification under the equal protection clause (such as race). To determine if a statute passes the test, a court considers whether the government has a compelling interest in creating the law, whether the statute is "narrowly tailored" to meet the government's objectives, and whether there are less restrictive means of accomplishing the same thing. (See also: rational basis
Definition provided by Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary.
August 19, 2010, 5:25 pm