CUNY Law Professor Jenny Rivera has been nominated for a position on the New York Court of Appeals. In a hearing earlier this week, some of the questioning focused on her article, An Equal Protection Standard for National Origin Subclassifications: The Context that Matters, 82 Wash. L. Rev 897 (2007), the abstract of which includes the following:
This Article argues that context that is specific to and conscious of the experience and legal position of national origin groups matters just as much as racial themes and context in race-based legislation. It analyzes equal protection challenges to Latino classifications and presents a new approach to equal protection doctrine and discourse in which Latino national origin subclassifications are contextualized and recognized as legally relevant and operative. The Article demonstrates that the context that matters in national origin classification cases depends on factors associated with country of origin subclassifications, as well as the homogeneous classification of all persons of Latin American and Latino Caribbean descent as Latino.
This Article’s proposed uniform standard of review for national origin subclassifications depends upon the legal, historical, cultural, and political context of subclasses. To justify a contextualized definitional and constitutional analysis, it draws on the history surrounding the definition of “Latinos” and “Hispanics” in the United States. Subclassifications are constitutional if (1) the initial legislative or administrative decision to classify by national origin satisfies the current strict scrutiny standard, which requires a narrowly-tailored remedy that serves a compelling governmental interest; and (2) the subclassifications are based on the intragroup dynamics and histories of the relevant target subclass, focusing on the experience of individuals within the subclass as “Latinos” and as subclass members.
Rivera was asked in the hearing if and how the views advocated in her article reflected how she would interpret and apply the […]