In my column for Hoover's Defining Ideas this week, I argue that it’s time for the Supreme Court to scrap the irrational “rational basis test," which it most recently applied--to idiotic use--in Armour v. Indianapolis.
I explain the case in greater detail over at Defining Ideas, but the bottom line is this: The Supreme Court should never accept the open invitation to intellectual laziness and antisocial results that comes from adopting the rational basis test in any case that involves government regulation or taxation. There are all sorts of powerful and instructive private analogies that give clear guidance on how constitutional law cases should be decided, and these rules never give pride of place to some exaggerated concern with administrative costs.
Brown v. Board of Education was also an equal protection case: What might have happened if the Supreme Court had held that the high administrative costs of ending segregation meant that the Court should not intervene? The point here is not to pretend that Armour is as important as Brown. It isn’t. Rather the point is this: The Court should restore some semblance of true rationality to American constitutional law by junking the rational basis test that leads it to disregard every known principle of justice and efficiency.
Read more at Defining Ideas.