Why don’t we receive equal protection under the law as skinny people do?
Boys I am here to answer your questions. First is how you feel you were treated differently from the skinny boys trying out for the team. You feel you have been grouped, or “classified”, by your weight and treated differently because of this classification. Well, classification happens all the time such as male/female, adult/minor, or Cowboys Fan/Hater. But there are some laws that cover government agencies use of classifications. High Schools are considered state actors and that means they must conform to the governmental restrictions within the Constitution including the 14th amendment. This amendment says that “no State shall make or enforce any law which shall… deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” This is known as the equal protection clause.
When a state actor uses a classification to treat people differently it must stand up to a level of scrutiny matching its importance. If it doesn’t pass this scrutiny, then the state actor cannot use the classification. The highest level of scrutiny is strict scrutiny. It is usually applied when the classification is based on race or national origin. There must be a compelling reason to use these classifications and no other way to attain the goal sought by their use. The school is not using one of these suspect classifications so strict scrutiny would not likely apply. The second level of scrutiny is intermediate. This level of scrutiny is usually applied when the classification is based on gender or alienage. The goal sought must be important and although there may be other ways to achieve the goal the classification’s use must be substantially related to it. Again, the high school is not using one of these semi-suspect classifications so it will likely not apply. The lowest level of scrutiny is rational basis. Here the use of the classification to achieve a state actor’s goal must only be supported by a reasonable, convincing argument.
The goal of most baseball teams, of most athletic departments, is to provide a competitive experience for the development of the participants. To be competitive, the coach will need to assemble a team with a reasonable chance for victory on the field. Essential to this process is placing athletes with the ability to perform at a base level for the environment. This means classifying students trying out for the team by weight and then restricting the positions available to each of those classifications appears reasonably related to the goal of providing a competitive environment. The school could argue that this passes the standard of rational scrutiny and therefore should be allowed under the 14th amendment. If this is the case, then you are receiving equal protection as the skinny kids. The state is being held to the use of classifications not based on suspect or semi-suspect classifications and their use is related to the goals sought by the program.
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