State Interest

State Interest

A broad term for any matter of public concern that is addressed by a government in law or policy.

State legislatures pass laws to address matters of public interest and concern. A law that sets speed limits on public highways expresses an interest in protecting public safety. A statute that requires high school students to pass competency examinations before being allowed to graduate advances the state's interest in having an educated citizenry.

Although the state may have a legitimate interest in public safety, public health, or an array of other issues, a law that advances a state interest may also intrude on important constitutional rights. The U.S. Supreme Court has devised standards of review that govern how a state interest will be constitutionally evaluated.

When a law affects a constitutionally protected interest, the law must meet the Rational Basis Test. This test requires that the law be rationally related to a legitimate state interest. For example, a state law that prohibits a person from selling insurance without a license deprives people of their right to make contracts freely. Yet the law will be upheld because it is a rational means of advancing the state interest in protecting persons from fraudulent or unscrupulous insurance agents. Most laws that are challenged on this basis are upheld, as there is usually some type of reasonable relation between the state interest and the way the law seeks to advance that interest.

When a law or policy affects a fundamental constitutional right, such as the right to vote or the right to privacy, the Strict Scrutiny test will be applied. This test requires the state to advance a compelling state interest to justify the law or policy. Strict scrutiny places a heavy burden on the state. For example, in roe v. wade, 410 U.S. 113, 93 S. Ct. 705, 35 L. Ed. 2d 147 (1973), the state interest in protecting unborn children was not compelling enough to overcome a woman's right to privacy. When the state interest is not sufficiently compelling, the law is struck down as unconstitutional.

References in classic literature ?
And of state interest to some extent," said Prince Andrew.
5 million voters against the state interest of cleaning the voters' list of flying voters, as the latter will not be achieved, absent new biometrics machines on election day, Ridon said when reached for comment yesterday.
Roe had declared that the right to elective abortion was "fundamental," that only a compelling state interest could justify overriding it, and that the state's interest in protecting fetal life was not compelling until viability.
Abbott's office contends that a same-sex marriage ban meets the Equal Protection Clause's prescription that laws "be rationally related to a legitimate state interest.
4) Without the City Council's approval, however, the law could only survive under the New York State Constitution's Home Rule Clause if it served a "substantial" state interest.
State interest should be protected at every cost but sometimes, media organizations go beyond limits and cause irreparable loss to the state interest, she observed.
The brief draws on the high court's 2003 decision in a University of Michigan admissions case, which maintained that race-conscious college admissions policies are permissible if they advance "a compelling state interest.
Spending in the bill is split approximately into thirds between projects in the Twin Cities, greater Minnesota and projects germane to the state interest.
Where a state tax statute (a) is closely tailored to advance a specific, legitimate state interest, (b) does not discriminate on its face, and (c) does not directly burden out-of-state interests, it should be sustained.
Instead it ruled that even if the whole point of the regulations was to protect funeral homes from competition, that would be OK, since "intrastate economic protectionism constitutes a legitimate state interest.
That is, the college would need to demonstrate that diversification of the student body constituted a specific compelling state interest and its admissions process was narrowly tailored to accomplish this end.
The court noted that the inmates had no misunderstanding about the purpose of the samples or their potential use, and that the law was narrowly drawn and served an important state interest.

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