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Icon-UpArrow "Fundamental Right"


a right that is considered by a court to be expressed, explicitly or implicitly, in the constitution of that state or the United States Constitution, and which is implicit in the concept of ordered liberty, such that neither liberty nor justice would exist if they were sacrificed.

Examples of fundamental rights include a parent’s right to raise his or her own child without governmental intrusion, the right to interstate travel, or the right to become a candidate for election to public office.

A court must review laws infringing upon fundamental rights under a standard of strict scrutiny. To withstand strict scrutiny, a law must be necessary to promote a compelling governmental interest and must be narrowly tailored to advance that interest. Alternatively, if a court determines the right not to be a fundamental right, the rational basis test applies. See privacy, right of.
Source: Barron's Dictionary of Legal Terms, Steven H. Gifis, 5th Edition; © 2016

"Few rights are more fundamental than that of an accused to present witnesses in his own defense"

- Chambers v Mississippi, 410 US 284 (1973)
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