Abstract

Historically, the rational basis test has been a constitutional rubber stamp. In Eldred v. Ashcroft and Golan v. Holder, the Supreme Court applied the rational basis test and respectively held that Congress could extend the copyright term of existing works and restore copyright protection of public domain works, despite evidence that Congress intended to benefit copyright owners at the expense of the public. But in Lawrence v. Texas and United States v. Windsor, the Supreme Court seems to have applied the rational basis test and held that state and federal laws were unconstitutional because they were motivated by animosity, and in Obergefell v. Hodges, it held that states must license marriages between two people of the same sex, because there is no legitimate basis to refuse. This essay argues that Lawrence, Windsor, and Obergefell may reflect the emergence of a “new rationality” that authorizes courts to consider legislative intent when evaluating the constitutionality of legislation. If so, perhaps the Court should reconsider Eldred and Golan.

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

7-17-2015

Notes/Citation Information

Brian L. Frye, Eldred & the New Rationality, 104 Ky. L. J. Online (July 17, 2015), perma.cc/7759-MWNX.

Share

COinS
 
 

To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.