Con Law Practice Question 2

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Constitutional Law: Individual Rights

A recently passed law in State A requires anyone who earns over $50,000.00 per year to pay an additional income tax. A teacher who lives in State A and earns $51,000.00 per year challenged the statute as unconstitutional.

Under what level of scrutiny will the court review the law?

A: Strict scrutiny.

B: Intermediate scrutiny.

C: Rational basis review.

D: None, because the teacher has no standing.

Answer and Explanation

C is correct. Because this law treats one class of people differently than others, it would be reviewed by the court under an equal protection analysis. The classification under this set of facts is a wealth classification, which the court has previously held is not suspect or quasi-suspect. Therefore, the applicable standard of review would be rational basis review.

A is incorrect. Strict scrutiny is only applied to suspect classifications, such as race or national origin.

B is incorrect. Intermediate scrutiny is only applied to quasi-suspect classifications, such as illegitimacy or gender.

D is incorrect. Citizens do not have standing as taxpayers to sue for generalized grievances or to challenge the way tax dollars are spent by the state or federal government because their interest is too remote. However, a taxpayer does have standing to litigate her own tax bill.

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