balancing test

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A “balancing test” is defined as a subjective test with which a court weighs competing interests. For instance, a court would weigh the interest between an inmate's liberty interest and the government's interest in public safety, to decide which interest prevails.

See, e.g. Wilkinson v. Austin, 545 U.S. 2009 (2005).

Contrast: Bright-line rule

[Last updated in July of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]