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Constitutional guarantee embodied in the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution, which states in relevant part that “No State shall... deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” The essential purpose of this constitutional doctrine is to ensure that the laws and the government treat all persons alike, unless there is some substantial reason why certain persons or classes of persons should be treated differently.
EXAMPLE: Women and men who perform equal tasks in their jobs for the state receive unequal pay. In a lawsuit seeking equal pay, the fact that a question based on gender is raised forces the state to demonstrate a compelling government interest to justify the distinction.
Source: Barron's Dictionary of Legal Terms, Steven H. Gifis, 5th Edition; ©
"The central purpose of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment is the prevention of official conduct discriminating on the basis of race."
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