William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal


Paul E. McGreal


Recently, Professor Jed Rubenfeld wrote an essay arguing that the Supreme Court's strict scrutiny test for equal protection works best to "smoke out" the purpose of laws to determine whether they were enacted because of racial bias or preference. Professor Rubenfeld criticized the Court's most recent affirmative action decision in Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Pena for departing from this "smoking out" approach.

In this Essay, Professor McGreal explores how this "smoking out" process is applied in federal equal protection cases. Counter to Professor Rubenfeld's view, he argues that the Supreme Court did use a "smoking out" approach in Adarand. His Essay discusses the Court's suspicion of racial classifications, pointing out the Court's departures from Professor Rubenfeld's view, and concludes by considering when the Court should be suspicious of non-race, non-gender classifications