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.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
"And of state interest to some extent," said Prince Andrew.
How sublimely he had sat with his hands in his pockets, and scouted all sentimental weakness of those who would put the welfare of a few miserable fugitives before great state interests!
So what should be done with the state interest in maintaining the ethical integrity of the medical profession?
notes that, while it might be difficult to establish that this pattern of discrimination serves a compelling state interest, the courts have not heretofore treated gays as a class in need of special protection, and hence this line of argument is not likely to produce judicial reform.
If it is not, the state can only restrict "commercial speech" if it is shown that the restriction directly and materially advances a substantial state interest. Even in these situations, the state's restriction may be no more extensive than is necessary to serve its interest.
The Court of Appeals, reversing an intermediate Appellate Court, held that the statute did not "substantially advance a legitimate state interest." Judge Joseph W.
The ruling declared that even if there was a compelling state interest (which they did not rule on) in creating a majority/minority district, Fields' district was not "narrowly tailored."
The question, simply put, is whether or not there exists a rational basis for, or a legitimate state interest in, anti-gay discrimination.
In examining the state interest in preserving life, courts typically see only the value of autonomy or some form of individual liberty.
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." The state argues that promoting opposite-sex marriage encourages the birth of children "in the context of stable, lasting relationships" in a way that same-sex marriage could not.
It requires government to show a "compelling state interest" before infringing on religious freedom.
When this fundamental right to privacy attaches to a statute, the statute is presumed unconstitutional until the state "proves" a compelling state interest applied in the least intrusive manner.

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