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equal protection of the law

n. the right of all persons to have the same access to the law and courts and to be treated equally by the law and courts, both in procedures and in the substance of the law. It is akin to the right to due process of law, but in particular applies to equal treatment as an element of fundamental fairness. The most famous case on the subject is Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954) in which Chief Justice Earl Warren, for a unanimous Supreme Court, ruled that "separate but equal" educational facilities for blacks were inherently unequal and unconstitutional since the segregated school system did not give all students equal rights under the law. It will also apply to other inequalities such as differentials in pay for the same work or unequal taxation. The principle is stated in the 14th Amendment to the Constitution: "No State shall…deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

See also: due process of law 

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The People's Law Dictionary by Gerald and Kathleen Hill Publisher Fine Communications