ISSUE = Whether Texas’ denial of free public education to undocumented children violated the 14
Amendment’s Equal Protection
Does the Equal Protection apply to immigrants who are here unlawfully?
ANALYSIS AND HOLDING =
Does Equal Protection even apply to undocumented persons? (this is a new question that has not come up before) = Courts
say yes saying the equal protection clause does apply to undocumented children in the realm of education, citing
when making the decision.
Courts rejected the argument by Texas that the 14
Amendment is limited to only those persons who are lawfully
This is the argument the state of Texas – Texas government – made.
SCOTUS makes this decision by looking at the plain language of the 14
indicates the 14
Amendment says it applies to “all persons” and doesn’t limit it only those who are here
Dissent disagrees that the 14
Amendment applies to undocumented persons.
Dissent disagrees with the interpretation of the 14
They said if the 14
Amendment applied to undocumented people, then it wouldn’t make any sense. The
Amendment is about who was here and, thus, on U.S. soil lawfully.
Yes, the equal protection rights of the undocumented children have been violated because the state cannot show
that the law “further substantial state interests.”
SOCTUS language of “substantial state interest” is not as high of strict scrutiny – compelling state interest – and
also not as low as rational basis – legitimate state interest.
Arguably, SOCTUS is articulating a new test that, when looking at undocumented children and public education,
there may be an intermediate level of scrutiny in between strict scrutiny and rational basis.
Has the Equal Protection Clause been violated in this case? = In order to do this, the court has to do the following 2 things:
(1) Court articulated the correct rule/standard to apply in this case, which is as follows:
Undocumented persons are not a “suspect class”.
Because they aren’t a suspect class, SCOTUS won’t require the government of Texas to show
a compelling state interest to discriminate against them.
Example = Texas legislature had said no children who are of Mexican ancestry can have
public education, then this would trigger strict scrutiny – the highest level of scrutiny and the
government having to overcome – because here, you have discrimination on the basis of race.