Share this

Enforcing the Equal Protection Clause: Congressional Power, Judicial Doctrine, and Constitutional Law, William D. Araiza

Reviewed by Jeb Barnes



William D. Araiza offers a timely doctrinal analysis of the Fourteenth Amendment’s enforcement clause. He opens the analysis with a convincing argument about why this clause deserves a closer look. As he notes, this provision presents something of a puzzle, a grant of legislative authority among rights that generally empower courts. Moreover, understanding this power is particularly urgent given narrow judicial interpretations of the commerce clause and federalism that limit congressional authority—limits that are likely to be maintained and perhaps extended now that President Donald Trump has appointed Justice Antonin Scalia’s successor.

In addressing this puzzle, Araiza does not call for wholesale changes to Fourteenth Amendment jurisprudence but rather shifts in its application to make it more coherent, predictable, and legitimate. While no brief review can do justice to an argument that is developed over 10 chapters, the gist is relatively straightforward. Araiza argues that the core of the Fourteenth Amendment requires laws to be rational and not motivated by animus toward particular groups. Over time, it has also placed sharp limits on racial classifications and laws that impinge on fundamental rights. Araiza contends that Congress is typically better suited to enforce these principles than courts because of its “comparati

To continue reading, see options above.

About PSQ's Editor


Full Access

Join the Academy of Political Science and automatically receive Political Science Quarterly.


JOBS: The Future of Jobs in America

May 20, 2021


Editor’s spotlight

Revisiting the New Deal

What the New Deal Did
David M. Kennedy

Franklin D. Roosevelt and The Transcendence of Partisan Politics
Sidney M. Milkis


Search the Archives

Publishing since 1886, PSQ is the most widely read and accessible scholarly journal with distinguished contributors such as: Lisa Anderson, Robert A. Dahl, Samuel P. Huntington, Robert Jervis, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Theda Skocpol, Woodrow Wilson

view additional issues

Most read

Articles | Book reviews

Understanding the Bush Doctrine
Robert Jervis

The Study of Administration
Woodrow Wilson

Notes on Roosevelt's "Quarantine" Speech
Dorothy Borg

view all

New APS Book

Presidential Selection and Democracy   PRESIDENTIAL SELECTION AND DEMOCRACY

About US

Academy of Political Science

The Academy of Political Science, promotes objective, scholarly analyses of political, social, and economic issues. Through its conferences and publications APS provides analysis and insight into both domestic and foreign policy issues.

Political Science Quarterly

With neither an ideological nor a partisan bias, PSQ looks at facts and analyzes data objectively to help readers understand what is really going on in national and world affairs.

Stay Connected

newsstand locator
About APS