Civil Rights and Equal Protection
The Notion Of Equality
The term equal in constitutional law is most commonly associated with the notion of human equality. To most, equality refers to the natural and political rights of essentially all persons living in the United States, especially the nation's citizens. For example, the Pledge of Allegiance ends with reference to "liberty and justice for all." However, in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the concept of equality with full protected rights did not apply to all persons, only a select group. The concept of equality was, and is, dynamic with different interpretations always evolving regarding questions of race, gender, nationality, and other aspects of life. Though equality in U.S. constitutional law does not mean that all groups must be treated the same, it does protect groups from arbitrary or hostile discrimination. Some clear government purpose or objective must be evident when a group is distinguished in any law.
Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationGreat American Court CasesCivil Rights and Equal Protection - The Notion Of Equality, The Mirage Of Equality, A Switch To Individual Rights, The Ongoing Expansion Of Equality