William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal


This Article advocates differentiating between two distinct categories of equal protection cases. The first-what I have termed indicator cases-are instances where courts consider whether there are sufficient factual indications to demonstrate the existence of aprimafacie equal protection violation. The second-violation casesare instances where courts consider, having already determined the existence of an equal protection violation, whether there is a good enough justification for a prima facie equal protection violation. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has not differentiated between these two different types of cases. This has led to a string of decisions where the Supreme Court has erroneously looked for justifications for non-existent Equal Protection Clause violations, when in fact it should have been looking for indications to determine whether there actually had been an Equal Protection Clause violation. But even more troubling are some of the suggestions on the horizon; for example, the diversity rationale adopted by the Court as sufficient to survive strict scrutiny could serve to justify discriminatory police tactics such as racial profiling. By clearly outlining the above distinction and its analytic ramifications, this Article hopes to undermine such arguments built on the diversity rationale as wholly unfounded.