Two-Minute MBE Question: Constitutional Law (equal protection)
Here, we discuss how to approach the following Constitutional Law MBE question in two minutes. Read the question below then check out the YouYube video below for an answer explanation in less than two minutes!
Constitutional Law MBE Question:
A state law provides funding for public students using a complex formula. One of the major components of the formula takes into account property values surrounding the schools. This leads to a disparity in student funding as schools located in areas where property values are high have substantially more funding than schools located in areas where property values are not high. A group of students from a school located in an area with low property values challenges this law on the basis that it violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Who will prevail?
(A) The state, because the state can show that the law is necessary to achieve a compelling government interest.
(B) The state, because the students will not be able to show that the law is not rationally related to any legitimate government interest.
(C) The students, because the students will be able to show that the law is not substantially related to an important government interest.
(D) The students, because the state will not be able to show that the law is rationally related to a legitimate government interest.
Constitutional Law Video Answer Explanation:
Looking for the written answer explanation?
You can find the answer to the MBE question in the video above or the text below. Just click “SHOW ANSWER”
(B) is the correct answer. Education is not a fundamental right, and it undergoes rational basis review. Under rational basis review, the plaintiffs (the students) must demonstrate that the law is not rationally related to any legitimate government interest.
Bar Exam Tip: A question similar to this (testing the standard of review for education in the Equal Protection Clause context) was tested on both the 1991 MBE released questions and the 2017 MBE released questions. Testing a straight standard of review question (and particularly in the context of education though there are certainly other instances where this appears) seems to be popular!
(A) is incorrect because it improperly uses a strict scrutiny standard.
(C) is incorrect because it improperly uses an intermediate scrutiny standard (and improperly places the burden on the students when under an intermediate scrutiny standard really the government has to show the law is substantially related to an important government interest).
(D) is incorrect because it improperly places the burden on the state (thus, again, misstating the standard of review) and further states that the students will prevail when they will not.
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