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Joshua Newville, Minnesota Employment Lawyer, Civil Rights Attorney, and Mediator

Legal claims that challenge discriminatory laws, such as statutes, ordinances, and executive orders, are typically raised through a process called judicial review. Judicial review is the power of the courts to examine and invalidate actions of the legislative and executive branches if they are found to be contrary to the constitution.

Minnesota Civil Rights Attorney 

As a civil rights lawyer practicing in Minnesota and beyond, I focus on protecting people's civil rights and liberties in a variety of contexts. I have significant experience challenging discriminatory laws, including winning precedent-setting victories in which discriminatory laws were struck down as unconstitutional.

What legal claims exist for challenging discriminatory laws?

There are a various types of legal claims that can be used to challenge discriminatory laws:


  • Equal Protection Claims: The Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees that no state shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction "the equal protection of the laws." This means that states cannot enact laws that treat certain groups of people differently based on protected characteristics like race, national origin, and religion, unless there is a compelling state interest that justifies the discrimination. If a law is found to discriminate on these grounds, it can be challenged under the Equal Protection Clause.

  • Due Process Claims: The Due Process Clauses of the 5th and 14th Amendments protect individuals from arbitrary government action and guarantee fundamental fairness in government proceedings. Laws that infringe on fundamental rights or that are excessively vague can be challenged under these clauses.

  • First Amendment Claims: Laws that infringe on rights protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, such as freedom of speech, assembly, religion, and the press, can be challenged on these grounds.

  • Federal Statutory Claims: Certain federal statutes, like the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Fair Housing Act, prohibit discrimination in various contexts. Laws that violate these statutes can often be challenged under the statutes themselves.

  • Claims Under State Constitutions and Statutes: State constitutions and statutes often provide protections similar to those found in the U.S. Constitution and federal law. Laws that violate these state-level protections can sometimes be challenged in state court.

How does the judicial review process work?

When a law is challenged as discriminatory, the courts typically apply one of three standards of review: rational basis, intermediate scrutiny, or strict scrutiny. The level of scrutiny applied often depends on the group affected by the law and the nature of the rights at stake.

If a court finds that a law is discriminatory and violates the Constitution or a federal or state statute, it can declare that law unconstitutional or invalid. This effectively prevents the government from enforcing the law.

Challenging a discriminatory law can be a complex process involving substantial legal analysis and argument. Therefore, individuals or groups seeking to challenge such a law are often best served by engaging legal counsel experienced in constitutional and civil rights law.

Related Topics:

Minnesota Discriminatory Enforcement of Laws Attorney
Minnesota Constitutional Law Attorney
Minnesota Civil Rights Attorney
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